Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 April 2014

Dalglish: We’re backing Suarez in Evra race row

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has issued a robust defence of Luis Suarez after the striker was accused of racism.

In the wake of the Reds' 1-1 draw with Manchester United on Saturday, Patrice Evra claimed in an interview with Canal Plus that Suarez had verbally abused him on a number of occasions during the game.

Suarez immediately refuted the allegations, which the Football Association are looking into.

But Dalglish, wearing a badge promoting anti-racism organisation Kick It Out's One Game, One Community campaign, of which Liverpool's home game tomorrow against Norwich is part, fully backed the player.

He also rejected suggestions by United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson, made after the game, that the Uruguay international was a diver.

“The only thing I will say — and then it is put to bed — is that the football club and everyone at the football club is totally and utterly fully behind Luis Suarez,” said the Scot.

“There was an allegation after the game about him diving all over the place and there was an allegation from Patrice Evra.

“Obviously the two things are emotive but we support the wee man on both things.

“At the start of the week the club made their position known and we won't be adding to it.

“We are fully looking forward to a complete, transparent report from the FA and we will co-operate 100 per cent.”

Evra is likely to have to provide evidence in the form of witnesses as he did not raise the allegations with referee Andre Marriner at the time.

The official only received a complaint after the game when Evra, accompanied by Sir Alex Ferguson, asked him to put it in his match report.

Suarez went public with his denial on Sunday and until corroborating evidence can be found it is one player's word against the other.

Suarez is more concerned with his form on the pitch.

He collected his second successive player of the month award from fans — his fourth triumph out of a possible six occasions.

“I think I can still keep improving and offer that little bit more,” he said. “I am happy at how the team is playing but I'd love to be able to provide that bit extra for the team.”