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Oct 8, 2012

Rodgers defends Suarez

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has defended under-fire striker Luis Suarez, claiming that the criticism of him following Sunday's draw with Stoke was ''wrong and unfair''.

• RVP escapes charge
• Pulis calls for Suarez ban

Suarez, 25, went to ground easily towards the end of the 0-0 draw between the two clubs at Anfield and was once again labelled a 'diver' by post-match comments.

However, the Liverpool man was left with stud marks to his torso after Robert Huth appeared to stamp on him earlier in the game and Rodgers believes that the focus surrounding his player is in the wrong place.

"As manager of this football club I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game," Rodgers told the club's official website.

"At this moment there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else.

"Diving and simulation is obviously a wider issue in football and one that we all agree has to be eradicated from our game but there were other incidents this weekend that didn't seem to generate the same coverage.

"No one should be distracted by the real issue here, both at Anfield and at another game played on Sunday, when Luis and another player were hurt in off-the-ball incidents that went unpunished but were caught on TV cameras.

"I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair.

"I will continue to protect the values, spirit and people of this great club and game while searching for a consistent level of results in order to make progress on the field."

However, former Liverpool striker and 1966 World Cup winner Roger Hunt believes the only way Suarez will lose his reputation for diving is to stay on his feet.

"I think he's got the reputation now and sometimes it probably is a penalty but with his reputation the referees won't give him one," Hunt said. "Someone must tell him to stop it, just play football. He doesn't have to do all that. It's not asking a lot for him to stay on his feet in those situations.

"It won't be easy for him to lose that reputation but I think that's the way to go. It's only going to benefit him eventually. Then referees will look at him and see he is behaving himself.

"Cristiano Ronaldo had a problem with it as well and Fergie (Sir Alex Ferguson) had a word with him - Ashley Young was diving too and Fergie had a word with him.

"I'm sure Brendan will have a word with him. I think he's strong enough to do that and everyone will benefit. I saw that (Sunday) and it was nothing. The TV highlighted it.

"As a player you do get frustrated if you are getting kicked all over the place but that is not an excuse. You have to keep your cool because opposition players will try to wind him up and it won't be easy for him.

"Liverpool need him and they need him on the field all the time rather than being suspended."

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