Premier League

Suarez to be offered counseling

Branislav Ivanovic (L) reacts after being bitten by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez.
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Liverpool striker Luis Suarez will be offered anger management counseling after biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, the Professional Footballers' Association revealed on Monday.

Suarez has apologized for his "inexcusable behavior" after the incident during the 2-2 draw at Anfield that has left the Uruguay international facing the prospect of a lengthy ban.

It is the latest in a series of unsavory incidents in Suarez's career - including a previous biting incident in Holland and an eight-match ban for racist abuse - and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said the players' union would offer the striker help to deal with his temper.

Taylor said: "There is no doubting his football ability, that's why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down.

"We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counselors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters."

The FA is reviewing the incident and Suarez is likely to be charged later today. Suarez is also one of the candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award to be announced on Sunday, and Taylor confirmed that the latest controversy would not affect his position on the shortlist.

Taylor added: "It's decided on votes and it is a football matter but of course it is embarrassing that it should happen."

Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre cancelled a scheduled flight to Australia, where he was due to promote the club's pre-season tour, to deal with the fall-out of the Suarez controversy having learned lessons from previous public relations disasters.

He described Suarez's behavior as "not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt'' and said he would be dealt with internally - most likely by way of a heavy fine.

Liverpool have stopped short of imposing their own ban on the striker but he is likely to be ruled out for the remainder of the season once the FA's disciplinary process kicks in.

Reds manager Brendan Rodgers said: "Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behavior is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this."

The player issued his own apology - something he failed to do adequately when found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra last season - first on Twitter and then via an official club statement.

"I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behavior earlier today during our match against Chelsea," he said.

"I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanovic to speak to him personally.

"I apologize also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down."

Later last night, Suarez returned to Twitter to say he had spoken personally to Ivanovic.

"I've just spoken to Ivanovic on the phone and I could apologize directly to him. Thanks for accepting," he wrote.

Ayre, having been one of many criticized for a lack of leadership during the Evra affair, took personal charge of the situation and held a meeting with Rodgers after the match in which they reviewed footage and formulated their response.

"Luis has made an unreserved apology for his actions," said Ayre.

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"His behavior is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down."

Referee Kevin Friend did not see the incident but television pictures are conclusive and the FA is almost certain to act.

Immediately prior to joining the Reds in January 2011, Suarez served a seven-match ban while at Ajax after sinking his teeth into PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal.

That will have no bearing on what action the FA take, however, as it was under a different association.

Rodgers insists no quick decisions will be taken on the future of the player, who is certain to attract interest from Europe's top clubs after scoring his 30th goal of the season.

It is understood Ivanovic was spoken to by Surrey Police at the club's Cobham training ground after complaints made to Merseyside Police were passed on to their southern colleagues, who wanted to ascertain whether the defender had sustained any injury.

That was found not to be the case and Ivanovic told police he did not want to press charges.

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