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Feb 6, 2012

Dalglish again questions Suarez ban

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish expressed his delight at the return of Luis Suarez after Monday's 0-0 draw with Tottenham, and reiterated his belief that the Uruguayan should never have been banned.

• Jolly: Suarez returns to a familiar outcome

Suarez had not played since Boxing Day after a nine-game absence, caused by two separate FA punishments. The first was for a gesture made by the forward at Craven Cottage, while the second - an eight-game suspension - was dished out after Suarez was found guilty of racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Liverpool were extremely vocal in their support of the South American throughout the investigation into the Evra case, wearing t-shirts to defend Suarez, while Dalglish consistently stated his belief that the striker was innocent.

On Monday the player made his return as a second-half replacement for Dirk Kuyt, instantly breathing life into the Liverpool forward line. Asked if he was happy to see Suarez back, Dalglish pointed out that he should never have been away.

"Fantastic for us to get Suarez back - he should never have been out in the first place," Dalglish told Sky Sports. "It would have been totally unfair to start him, having not played since Boxing Day. As much as we admire and love him, we've also got to manage him."

As always, Dalglish enjoyed a verbal sparring session with his interviewer, poking fun at both he and Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville. The Liverpool manager was told Neville and presenter Ed Chamberlain had rated Andy Carroll's display at Anfield, which sparked amusement in Dalglish.

"We've got a big squad of players and yet it's always Andy's name that comes up first isn't it? I cannot get over this obsession. Andy Carroll was very good tonight," said the Scot.

"Who were the boys in the studio? Well they'll know a lot about self-confidence, the two boys, so we'll take their word for it. If they say he played well, we'll congratulate them on their judgement."

Monday's draw represented an eighth failure to win at home for Liverpool this season, although they remain unbeaten at Anfield. Asked if he was concerned with his team's chance-conversion rate, Dalglish preferred to stay positive.

"We're really pleased with the way the team played, we put them under an awful lot of pressure, kept the shape and determination, and you need a bounce of the ball to go your way," stated the Liverpool manager.

"We've played the top sides here and Tottenham are a top side, and we've done very well. Everybody deserves credit. Pepe [Reina] didn't have much to do but it was a good save [from Gareth Bale], everybody made a contribution.

"We're in a better position than last year, we've got a cup final to look forward to, we're in the fifth round of the FA Cup; like everybody else we'd love to convert more chances but no other team has created as many chances or conceded as few goals as we have."