Liverpool fine Suarez, deny plans to sell
Liverpool have fined Luis Suarez after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, but insist they have no plans to sell the striker.
1/2 For my unacceptable behaviour yesterday the club has fined me today, I have asked the club to donate the money to... 2/2 ...to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.
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However, Ayre said in a short interview published on the club's official website on Monday that the club still plan to retain the controversial Uruguay striker for the remainder of his contract.
When asked if the issue could lead to Suarez being sold, Ayre said: "Not at all. 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. He's a very popular player with his team-mates.
"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 Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character."
The Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) also revealed Luis Suarez is to be offered anger management counselling.
The attack marks the latest incident in a career blighted by controversy, and PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has told Press Association Sport that the player will be given help to control his anger.
"There is no doubting his football ability," Taylor said. "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.''
Suarez is facing a lengthy ban, with the Football Association set to review the flashpoint after referee Kevin Friend admitted that he missed it, and the forward's Anfield future is looking increasingly uncertain, with Rodgers suggesting on Sunday evening that Liverpool could sell him.
The 26-year-old did not play for Ajax again after biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during an Eredivisie match in November 2010. The striker was suspended for two matches by his club – a ban later increased to seven games by the Dutch FA – and then joined Liverpool for £22.8 million at the end of the ban.
However, John Barnes, who played for the Reds between 1987 and 1997, has dismissed the notion that Suarez should never play for the club again.
He told BBC Radio Five Live: "What he has to do is suffer the consequences of his actions. I've heard talk of him not playing for Liverpool again, which I think is ridiculous.
"I've heard talk of him bringing down the good name of Liverpool, which is also ridiculous. He brought his own good name down. The reflection on Liverpool is their response to his actions, and their response is right. The response from Ian Ayre and the club is that it's completely unacceptable.
"If you're saying that, because of what he's done, he should never play for Liverpool again, who should he play for? If another club sign him, will it reflect badly on them? They'll be signing a player who Liverpool deem not morally good enough.
"So Manchester United, Real Madrid, Barcelona, they could sign him, but we can't have him. If we're saying he can't play for Liverpool again, then he shouldn't play for anyone, which is ridiculous."
Barnes also rejected the idea that Liverpool should follow Ajax's example and impose their own suspension first.
He said: "I think the FA should act first – Liverpool should see what punishment is meted out and then come up with their own conclusions. They could ban him for seven games and then he gets another ten-match ban from the FA, rather than the FA doing whatever they have to do first."
However, the former Liverpool winger acknowledged that Suarez has a serious issue with his on-field behaviour.
He said: "He has anger management problems and he has issues that he has to deal with, but to talk about him reflecting badly on the club is nonsense. He reflects badly on Luis Suarez as a person."
Former FA executive director David Davies indicated that Suarez is likely to receive a lengthy suspension.
Davies said: "There are two elements to this. One is: What are Liverpool going to do? The other is: What are the FA going to do? There isn't a precedent, in my view, for this particular case. It is unique. Players do not run around, with any regularity, biting other players.
"So Liverpool could ban him for the rest of the season, and then await the FA's decision, which I suspect will be a very lengthy ban."
Information from the Press Association was used in this report
1/2 For my unacceptable behaviour yesterday the club has fined me today, I have asked the club to donate the money to...— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) April 22, 2013
2/2 ...to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.— Luis Suarez (@luis16suarez) April 22, 2013