''He gave everything for Liverpool,'' Rodgers said when asked if Suarez had let the club down. ''Of course there have been issues, but they're in the past. He was a brilliant player for us and for me. ... It's a shame he's not here. But Liverpool, as a club, is bigger than any one player.''
The Uruguay national scored 82 goals in 133 Liverpool appearances. But his three years in England were overshadowed by bans for racial abuse and biting. He was suspended for four months by FIFA for biting Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini during the World Cup. Suarez cannot join his new team in Spain until after the suspension is over.
Rodgers also said that Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard's retirement from the national team ''brings an end to a great career.'' But it might be beneficial to Liverpool.
''Liverpool means everything to him,'' Rodgers said. ''And there's certainly no doubt missing out on international football means he will be fresher and at his optimum level as often as possible for us.''
Rodgers spoke at Fenway Park, the home of the Boston Red Sox, before the Reds practiced for Wednesday night's friendly against A.S. Roma. The 102-year-old baseball stadium was decked out for the game on Tuesday, with the pitch lined up from the third-base line to the right-field stands.
Balloons with each team's name rose above the bullpens where the pitchers warm up, and Fenway's famous Green Monster was covered with banners promoting the soccer match. More than 30,000 tickets have been sold for the second installment of ''Football at Fenway''; the same two teams met in 2012.
The game between teams from England and Italy will have a local flavor: Liverpool is owned by Red Sox owner John Henry, and Roma is owned by Boston Celtics minority owner Jim Pallotta.