Gerard Houllier said he felt sympathy for Liverpool being affected by Luis Suarez's four-month ban for biting and believes the Uruguay striker wasted an opportunity to become the player of the World Cup.
Suarez's ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini in the final group match against Italy, which Uruguay won 1-0, meant he missed his country's last 16 match against Colombia, which ended in a 2-0 defeat.
The four-month ban – which Suarez is appealing against – also means he will not be able to play club football until the end of October and has apparently made a move to Barcelona more likely.
Former Liverpool manager Houllier, who is in Rio as the head of FIFA's technical study group, said: "I feel sorry for what happened – I felt for my Liverpool friends.
"He's such an outstanding talent that could have been player of the tournament, the way things had been going, simple as that.
"When Uruguay played the match against Colombia I think they were under the shock (of the ban).
"They played four games and won two with Suarez and they lost two without him.
"You don't like to see an outstanding talent out of football for so long.
"He made a mistake, he will agree with that and even apologised and now we just have to wait until he comes back."
Houllier also provoked laughter when he used an unfortunate phrase while discussing the merits of South American teams in the World Cup.
The Frenchman said: "South American teams seem to have an aggressive bite here in Brazil... look at Colombia, Uruguay... maybe 'bite' is not a good word to use for Uruguay!"