Tuesday 24 October 2017

Dalglish unwavering in support for Suarez over racism claims

Chris Bascombe

Liverpool rallied around under-fire striker Luis Suarez last night as they vowed to prove his innocence of racism charges.

Manager Kenny Dalglish is unwavering in his support for the Uruguayan despite the FA's decision to act on a complaint from Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Suarez's case now rests on the interpretation of Spanish words used against Evra during their on-field verbal fracas at Anfield on October 15. Suarez and Liverpool insist there were no racial connotations.

There is a feeling within Anfield the 24-year-old's admission he exchanged words with Evra has worked against him. Suarez's submissions were intended to prove, in the interests of transparency, there was no racial element to their row. His comments aimed at clearing up any concerns appear to have had the reverse effect.

Evra has maintained since the final whistle of the offending fixture he was racially abused by the Liverpool striker and the English FA have now decided there is a case to answer.

Having staunchly defended his player throughout the saga, Dalglish was anxious to say as little as possible, given the FA's disquiet at recent public pronouncements on the issue.

But he maintained the view there was no question of the club re-evaluating their stance, and suggested the sense of injustice was likely to make everyone at Anfield even more supportive of their No 7.

"I don't think there's any doubt that anybody at this football club that finds themselves in a bit of a bad time is only going to be looked after by the people here. That's a given," Dalglish said.

"We've not changed our stance and the statement says everything that we need to say. We don't drift from what we've said. We can't afford to. We said we wanted it done quickly but correctly.

"Adversity helps some and hinders others, everyone is different. But we'll just get on with the hand we've been dealt, not feel sorry for ourselves, and if the adversity stirs someone up then fine.

"I don't think the wee man's form will suffer for any reason other than, like everyone else, sometimes you don't play as well as you are capable of playing. But the standard he has set himself in many of the games he has played for us is a very high standard and very difficult to achieve week in and week out. The best way for us to judge him is that even when he's not playing well he's still a lot better than most people."

Suarez returned to Melwood for training yesterday, with fears rising he will be hit with a lengthy ban that will seriously undermine Liverpool's top-four ambitions. The club have come to rely heavily on the forward, especially in the absence of Steven Gerrard.

Suarez himself has a back injury, although it is not likely to force him out of Sunday's trip to Chelsea.

"He might have got a knock but I don't think it's severe enough to keep him out," Dalglish said. "We'll have to wait and see but I don't think he's injured. We will speak to him as a matter of course but we speak to everyone who comes back from international duty."

On top of a public row with the Football League and Sky TV regarding a hectic fixture schedule which will see Liverpool play two key games in three days next week, it has been an acrimonious period for Dalglish.

The circumstances are ripe for encouraging an old-fashioned siege mentality at Anfield and Dalglish makes no apologies for going on the offensive against the authorities.

"Everybody at every football club thinks that someone can do better or be more helpful but you just get on with it," he said.

"Most of the time you don't want to say anything but if you don't say anything they'll walk all over you. They might still walk all over us anyway but you've got to justify yourself, you've got to have an opinion and you've got to make a statement of a belief you've got." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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