The manager opted to withdraw Suarez with 12 minutes remaining at Anfield and the Uruguayan departed the pitch to a standing ovation from the Reds' faithful.
Afterwards, the manager explained his thinking behind the move.
"He's played almost every minute of every game this season, but even with 15 minutes to go, he wants to add to his goals tally," said Rodgers. "He's a player who has been brilliant for us. I wanted to give him a little round of applause and rest his legs for Thursday night.
"He'll be up there by himself [against Zenit] and he won't have Coutinho or Sturridge in and around him. But that's the nature of the man; he's a wonderful character and a great competitor.
"He wants to play every minute of every game and I would never want to take that away from him."