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Reds icon tells Suarez to stay on his feet

FORMER Liverpool striker Roger Hunt believes the only way Luis Suarez will lose his reputation for diving is to stay on his feet.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis called for three-match bans for players who go to ground after the Uruguay international fell theatrically in the penalty area during Sunday's goalless draw at Anfield.

Hunt believes television replays have made that incident appear worse than it was, but accepts it is not the first time Suarez's actions have been called into question.

The 1966 World Cup winner thinks Reds boss Brendan Rodgers must intervene, but accepts only the player himself can now extricate himself from the situation.

"I think he's got the reputation now and sometimes it probably is a penalty but with his reputation the referees won't give him one," Hunt said.

"Someone must tell him to stop it, just play football. He doesn't have to do all that.

"It's not asking a lot for him to stay on his feet in those situations.

"It won't be easy for him to lose that reputation but I think that's the way to go.

"It's only going to benefit him eventually. Then referees will look at him and see he is behaving himself.

"Cristiano Ronaldo had a problem with it as well and Fergie (Alex Ferguson) had a word with him - Ashley Young was diving too and Fergie had a word with him.

"I'm sure Brendan will have a word with him. I think he's strong enough to do that and everyone will benefit.

"I saw that (yesterday) and it was nothing. The TV highlighted it.

"As a player you do get frustrated if you are getting kicked all over the place but that is not an excuse.

"You have to keep your cool because opposition players will try to wind him up and it won't be easy for him.

"Liverpool need him and they need him on the field all the time rather than being suspended."

Suarez is Liverpool's leading goalscorer this season with seven - five of which have been in the league - and is having to shoulder the burden almost alone.

He has been criticised for not taking enough of the chances which fall his way but Hunt reckons he could become a major force in front of goal.

"All strikers miss chances, except when you're retired like me," added the 74-year-old, Liverpool's record goalscorer in the league with 245 and surpassed only by Ian Rush in terms of goals for the Reds.

"I think Suarez could get 25 goals in a season. He's unique. I've never really seen a player like him. I've never seen a player get as much room in the penalty area as him.

"You're watching him and then all of a sudden he's on his own in the box or going to the byline twisting and turning. I think he's fantastic.

"But they need more than Suarez up front, don't they? Steven Gerrard will get a few but there are not a lot of goals in the rest of the team."