Rodgers sticks up for Suarez

Brendan Rodgers has hit out at the unjust “vilification” of

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez after more diving allegations were

levelled at him.

Only a couple of weeks ago, the Northern Irishman felt the need

to not only to speak out publicly about the treatment the Uruguay

international was receiving on the pitch but also raise the subject

with referees’ chief Mike Riley.

In Sunday’s goalless draw at home to Stoke, Suarez went down

theatrically in the penalty area which led to Potters manager Pulis

called for three-match bans for players who dive.

Defender Robert Huth has, however, escaped punishment despite

appearing to stamp on Suarez after the Football Association

confirmed the incident was seen by officials at the time and

therefore no further action can be taken.

That has left Rodgers outraged.

“As manager of this football club, I find it incredible that in

nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little

focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim

of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game,”

he told Liverpool’s official website.

“At this moment, there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and

another set for everyone else.

“Diving and simulation is obviously a wider issue in football

and one that we all agree has to be eradicated from our game but

there were other incidents this weekend that didn’t seem to

generate the same coverage.

“No-one should be distracted by the real issue here, both at

Anfield and at another game played on Sunday, when Luis and another

player were hurt in off-the-ball incidents that went unpunished but

were caught on TV cameras.

“I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective

and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both

wrong and unfair.

“I will continue to protect the values, spirit and people of

this great club and game while searching for a consistent level of

results in order to make progress on the field.”

Suarez has earned a reputation, during his relatively short time

in English football, for going down too easily but Rodgers has

always insisted that was not the case.

Less than a fortnight ago, the Reds boss raised his concerns

about how referees were not giving decisions in Suarez’s favour,

having been frustrated by what he felt were clear penalties against

Sunderland and Manchester United being overlooked.

“He hasn’t dived – they have been legitimate,” he said at the

time.

“He went down at Sunderland and it looked a clear penalty and he

ended up getting booked for it.

“I’m not sure (whether Suarez’s reputation is influencing

officials). You’d need to ask the referees but he is a wonderful

talent and, irrespective of whether he goes down, if it’s a

penalty, it’s a penalty.

“What I have seen, he certainly doesn’t ever look like he is

going to get a decision and that is something which would bother me

going forward.”