Luis Suarez
Suarez took his season tally to 20 against Cardiff.

Former Liverpool midfielder Ray Houghton says Luis Suarez's new contract is as significant as Arsenal signing Mesut Ozil in the last summer transfer window.

Suarez is understood to have penned a new two year extension to become the Reds' highest paid player of all time.

The addition of Ozil at Arsenal has helped transform the club's fortunes with the Gunners now among the leading contenders for the title and with Suarez now committed to Liverpool for the long-term to seemingly dismiss rumours regarding his future, Houghton feels it could have the same impact.

"It will give the whole club a lift, particularly the players, because it ends the uncertainty of whether Luis was staying or going," Houghton told

"To lose one of your two world class players – the other being Steven Gerrard – would have been a major setback just as the club was being put on the right footing.

"In that regard, I compare it to Mesut Ozil signing for Arsenal from Real Madrid. Ozil was big statement from Arsenal that they meant business and Luis's new contract shows that Liverpool mean business, too.

"The main thing for Brendan Rodgers is that there will be less negative distractions for him to worry about over the busy new few weeks and, of course, the January transfer window.

"He can focus on the playing side and who he can get to strengthen his squad, rather than the prospect of losing his best player."

After being banned for 10 matches for biting Branislav Ivanovic and then demanding to leave Liverpool in the summer, Suarez has staged a dramatic about-turn in his fortunes and in the absence of Steven Gerrard has been handed the captain's armband.

And with 20 goals in 12 appearances this season for Liverpool, Suarez is repaying the club's faith in him and spearheading their charge towards returning to the Champions League.