Premier League

Rodgers sticks up for Suarez

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Mon, 08 Oct 2012 19:20:00

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."

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