Belfast Telegraph

Monday 29 December 2014

Liverpool stand by Luis Suarez

Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his team's second goal against Chelsea during yesterday's Barclays Premier League match at Anfield
Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates scoring his team's second goal against Chelsea during yesterday's Barclays Premier League match at Anfield
FILE - APRIL 21, 2013: Luis Suarez of Liverpool has been accused of biting opponent Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during today's Premier League, the latest in a sequence of controversial incidents that have marked the players career LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 01: Luis Suarez of Liverpool reacts during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Southampton at Anfield on December 1, 2012 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea closes down Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Rafael Benitez (3rdR), interim manager of Chelsea and assistants applaud with Brendan Rodgers (L), manager of Liverpool prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Liverpool fans display a banner in memory of Anne Williams, a Hillsborough campaigner during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
FILE - APRIL 21, 2013: Luis Suarez of Liverpool has been accused of biting opponent Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea during today's Premier League, the latest in a sequence of controversial incidents that have marked the players career LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 01: Jack Rodwell of Everton is shown a red card by Referee Martin Atkinson following a challenge on Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Liverpool at Goodison Park on October 1, 2011 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 19: Jeremie Boga of Chelsea slips between Jordan Rossiter (L) and Jordan Lussey of Liverpool during the FA Youth Cup semi final second leg match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on April 19, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Cesar Azpilicueta of Chelsea is challenged by Philippe Coutinho of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Liverpool fans display a sign for Rafael Benitez, interim manager of Chelsea prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: A Liverpool fan holds a sign in support of Rafael Benitez, interim manager of Chelsea prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Luis Suarez of Liverpool looks dejected with team mates after the opening goal by Oscar of Chelsea during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Rafael Benitez, interim manager of Chelsea gives instructions with Brendan Rodgers, manager of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Eden Hazard (L) of Chelsea celebrates scoring his penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Eden Hazard of Chelsea celebrates scoring his penalty during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea talks with Luis Suarez of Liverpool as they walk in for half time during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Luis Suarez of Liverpool scores the equalising goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Ramires, Mikel and Petr Cech of Chelsea talk to referee Kevin Friend after the equalising goal by Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Ramires, Mikel and Petr Cech of Chelsea talk to referee Kevin Friend after the equalising goal by Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: (L-R) Branislav Ivanovic, Ramires and Frank Lampard of Chelsea look dejected after the equalising goal by Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Rafael Benitez, interim manager of Chelsea waves prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: John Terry (L) and Frank Lampard of Chelsea look on prior to the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Ramires, Mikel and Petr Cech of Chelsea talk to referee Kevin Friend after the equalising goal by Luis Suarez of Liverpool during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Jamie Carragher of Liverpool celebrates the equalising goal scored by Luis Suarez during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - APRIL 21: Oscar of Chelsea leaves the field during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool, England. (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre insists Luis Suarez will not be sold despite his latest controversy in biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

The striker has been fined by the club, with the player asking for the money to be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

But there is no question of him being offloaded in the summer despite worldwide condemnation of his inexplicable actions in yesterday's 2-2 draw at Anfield.

"It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline - but Luis is a very important player to the club," Ayre told liverpoolfc.com.

"As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we'd all love to see him here throughout that contract.

"He's a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we'd want in a striker, so there's no change there.

"This is more about getting him back on the right track and it's largely down to (manager) Brendan (Rodgers) now to work with him on that side of his character."

After yesterday's match Rodgers said discussions about what action to take over Suarez would involve owners Fenway Sports Group.

Ayre confirmed they had taken place and FSG fully backed the decisions taken.

"With any incident like this, any major incident at the club, we're in direct dialogue with the owners, always," he added.

"I spoke to them last night and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter.

"I think the most important thing is that we acted swiftly yesterday.

"Luis issued his apology and then we spoke with him last night and then again this morning."

But Ayre stressed the issue would not end there with Rodgers, who has a close relationship with Suarez, determined to tackle the player's ill-discipline.

"We've taken action to fine Luis for his actions," he said.

"Brendan has spoken to him and I've spoken to him and Brendan will be working with him further on his discipline.

"We'll work with Luis - Brendan particularly - on this side of his character in his game.

"Hopefully that puts the matter to rest from our point of view and we'll wait and see if there's any further action from the football authorities.

"You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he's certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us - and as part of that, he's also asked we donate the fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

"I think he felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday."

Suarez will be offered anger management counselling by the Professional Footballers' Association but it seems more likely Liverpool would be inclined to chose to utilise the services of their own in-house sports psychologist Dr Steve Peters.

He has been working one day a week at the club's Melwood training ground for most of the season, having enjoyed success most notably with Great Britain's Olympic gold medal-winning cyclists like Sir Chris Hoy and Victoria Pendleton.

Former Liverpool striker Craig Bellamy has also credited Peters with helping him change his behaviour for the better.

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said the players' union would offer the striker help to deal with his temper.

Taylor told Press Association Sport: "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 counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters."

The Football Association is reviewing the incident and Suarez is likely to be charged later today and could face a lengthy ban.

Suarez apologised to Ivanovic in a phone call last night and this morning revealed he had been fined by the club.

"For my unacceptable behaviour yesterday the club has fined me today," the 26-year-old wrote on Twitter.

"I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic."

It is understood Ivanovic was spoken to by Surrey Police at the club's Cobham training ground last night 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.

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Nightlife galleries

More

Latest Sport News

Stats Centre