Saturday 18 November 2017

Liverpool great warns Rodgers to stop Luis Suarez diving

Brendan Rodgers, pictured, has defended Luis Suarez
Brendan Rodgers, pictured, has defended Luis Suarez

Carl Markham

FORMER Liverpool striker Roger Hunt believes manager Brendan Rodgers has to intervene with Luis Suarez to help the Uruguay international lose his reputation for diving.

The Reds boss yesterday hit out at the unjust "vilification" of the forward after Stoke's Tony Pulis called for three-match bans for players who go to ground following Suarez's theatrical fall in the penalty area during Sunday's goalless draw at Anfield.

Hunt thinks Rodgers must do more to educate Suarez, but admits 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," said Hunt.

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

"Cristiano Ronaldo had a problem with it as well and Fergie (Sir 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.

"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."

Rodgers was furious all the focus had been directed on Suarez when Stoke defender Robert Huth escaped punishment, despite appearing to stamp on the Uruguayan, after the FA Association confirmed the incident was seen by officials at the time and therefore no further action can be taken.

"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 said..

"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."

Press Association

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