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Oct 1, 2012

Poll: Suarez being harmed by reputation

Former Premier League referee Graham Poll believes that Liverpool forward Luis Suarez's reputation for diving means he is being denied legitimate penalties.

• Aguero: Refs harsh on foreigners
• Rodgers rues Suarez reputation
• Blog: Suarez comes good
• Norwich City 2-5 Liverpool
• Gerrard hoping for title 'miracle'

Poll's claim comes days after Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers telephoned referees' boss Mike Riley to complain about a number of key decisions going against the club.

Suarez has been denied penalties in each of his side's last three Premier League games, collecting a booking at Sunderland on September 15 after John O'Shea appeared to catch him, seeing an appeal rejected when he was challenged by Manchester United's Jonny Evans at Anfield eight days later and then getting nothing when Norwich defender Leon Barnett seemed to barge him over on Saturday.

Mike Jones waved away Liverpool's appeals at Carrow Road, although Suarez ended the afternoon smiling after scoring a hat-trick in a 5-2 victory.

But Rodgers, who has seen three penalties given against his team in Liverpool's opening six Premier League games, feels Suarez is not being treated fairly by officials. And Poll thinks he may have a point.

The former referee told the Daily Mail: "It was one of the easiest decisions of the season and yet Jones, a competent referee, waved appeals away.

"The fact that it was Suarez again can only leave the impression that it is his reputation as a player who goes down too easily that is affecting referees' decision making.

"What is clear is that Liverpool's opponents are pressurising referees by their strong reactions whenever Suarez goes down. This time, the Norwich players immediately indicated that there was no foul and appeared to claim that the Uruguayan had dived.

"It's not surprising this situation has occurred. Suarez has been cautioned three times for simulation, twice last season and once this, making him the most cautioned player for that offence. Last season, Sir Alex Ferguson accused him of diving 'all over the place'.

"Referees hate being duped and would rather miss a 'soft' penalty than give one when a player has dived.

"I always tried to clear my mind of any previous incidents but, when refereeing a player such as Cristiano Ronaldo in his early days at Manchester United, I would be more likely to wave aside appeals from him than I would if Roy Keane went to ground.

"It is human nature and Rodgers needs to accept that it will take more than a plea from him to change Suarez's reputation.

"Referees need to see a change in attitude and approach before they give anything other than the most obvious penalties for fouls on him."

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