Luis Suarez has thanked Steven Gerrard for advising him to reject advances from Arsenal in 2013.
Arsenal made a £40million plus £1 bid for Liverpool striker Suarez in the summer of 2013, but the Uruguay forward decided not to push for a move to Emirates Stadium on the advice of his captain.
“Arsenal’s interest in me was very public,” said Suarez in the Daily Mail. “I don’t think it is any secret.’
“I had a private conversation with Stevie after training, and he told me to give Liverpool another season, and wait for Barcelona.
“Looking back now it is one of the most important conversations of my life, but that is Stevie, he was a captain who was always ready to give his players advice.”
Suarez, who scored his 41st goal of the season in Barca’s 2-1 victory over Las Palmas on Saturday, faces the club he could have joined on Tuesday when Arsenal host the Catalans in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
“We are playing very well, but we can not be complacent about Arsenal at all,” Suarez said of the game. “They have players that can hurt any team in Europe, and they look like they have a very good chance of winning the Premier League this season.
“They are one of the best teams in England, and we will have to perform at our best.”
Liverpool, meanwhile, face a battle to get back into the Champions League, but Suarez hopes to see them playing in Europe’s premier competition again before long.
He added: “They will always be close to my heart, and I want to see them back in the Champions League.
“The Champions League is so important for the Liverpool fans and they have such a big history in the competition, it is really important that they get back there.”