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OWEN: LUIS IS KOP'S HENRY; EXCLUSIVE.

Byline: ROB MAUL

MICHAEL OWEN has saluted Luis Suarez for eradicating his bad-boy behaviour.

And he believes the Liverpool striker is now the Premier League's most lethal weapon since Thierry Henry.

The Uruguayan will be a key figure when Liverpool host Manchester City - and whoever wins at Anfield today will have a major advantage in the most open championship race for years.

Suarez has now scored an astonishing 29 goals - making him the bookies' favourite to be named PFA Player of the Year later this month.

And ex-Liverpool ace Owen (right, top) believes that, after curbing his on-field antics, Suarez is as influential as Arsenal's talisman Henry (right, below) - and has backed him to be the difference in today's titanic title tussle.

Owen said: "Suarez has been the best player in the Premier League this season. Yes, there are others who've done well - Yaya Toure, Steven Gerrard, Adam Lallana and Eden Hazard.

"But, when it comes to Suarez, I don't think I have seen anything that good since probably Thierry Henry was playing in the Premier League.

"He has been absolutely outstanding.

"And it's important to mention he has been absolutely exemplary this season. His discipline has been great.

"Full credit to the club for giving him the stage to perform the way he has.

"It's funny because Suarez doesn't have the pace of Henry, the aerial ability of an Alan Shearer or the brute force of a Didier Drogba. But he's so supremely gifted in every single way. He really is an unique player.

"I'd probably say Liverpool will win. They are blowing everyone away at home this season, there's momentum there."

League leaders Liverpool will lift their first league title for 24 years if they win all their remaining five matches.

Nobody has gone from seventh place at the end of one season to Champions the next - yet Liverpool, who have scored 90 goals already, are a revitalised club under Brendan Rodgers.

And Owen expects the Northern Irish manager to oversee a period of sustained success.

The BT Sport commentator said: "I know loads of Liverpool season-ticket holders who are happy going to Akn see goa Anfield now, knowing they'll see a feast of goals.

"For a couple of decades, there have been sporadic results - the Champions League, an FA Cup, the 2001 season when we virtually won everything.

"But there hasn't been a sustained period of challenging. It has always been either fourth or fifth in the league. So, it's really nice to see them back in the big time."

Tuesday marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsborough disaster and it promises to be an incredibly poignant and emotional afternoon.

Owen added: "I can't imagine today there will have been a better atmosphere at Anfield for decades. It'll be absolutely electric."

Michael Owen is running the Virgin Money London Marathon to raise money for three charities - Alder Hey Children's Hospital, the Manchester Royal Eye Hospital and Prostate Cancer UK. To donate, visit: uk.virginmoneygiving.com/themichaelowen

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SUAR-ING TO SCORE: Luis has bagged 29 goals so far
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 13, 2014
Words:511
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