• Premier League

Rodgers tees off at PM over Suarez

ESPN staff
April 26, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
Brendan Rodgers believes that Suarez's ten-match ban is "against the man rather than the incident"

Brendan Rodgers has claimed he would understand if Luis Suarez decided to quit Liverpool and English football this summer after being given a ten-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

Rodgers feels that the striker, 26, who has scored 30 goals for Liverpool this season and is nominated for the PFA Player of the Year award, has been unfairly treated by the Football Association.

Even before this latest indiscretion, there was speculation that a number of top European clubs would attempt to prise Suarez from Liverpool this summer with Bayern Munich, Juventus and Atletico Madrid reportedly interested.

Rodgers has expressed sympathy towards his star player's plight and said he would accept if Suarez felt a need to move away from the Premier League.

"Yes, I do understand, 100%," the Liverpool boss said. "This is a guy who I see on a daily basis trying very hard. His two passions in life are his family and Liverpool Football Club. He throws his life into that. It is part of his make-up - you can't change that - but I genuinely think he is trying to adapt those traits he has grown up with as a kid to life and the culture here. Each time he makes a step forward we find ways to beat him with a stick and beat him down. I can understand if he felt like that [wanting to quit England] in a moment of reflection.

"I've had a lot of discussions with Pere Guardiola [Suarez's agent] over the last few days that have been very strong. They have been very happy and pleased with what the club has done not only to protect the player but to support the player but also to understand that he needs help."

Rodgers lays part of the blame for Suarez's treatment at the door of Prime Minister David Cameron.

Before the hearing on Wednesday a statement from Downing Street had called for the FA to consider the wider implications of Suarez's actions and said "it would be very understandable if they took into account that high-profile players are often role models".

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg continued that stance on Thursday when he added of Suarez's behaviour: "It was outrageous. Suárez has got what he deserves - he deserves the ten-match ban."

However, Rodgers was not happy with what he saw as outside interference, saying by making these statements that the Prime Minister has invoked the decision to be biased.

"We saw former players all having an opinion straight after the game. The Prime Minister even chipped in with something which was a different matter altogether.

"There's no doubt if you have those high-profile figures making those sorts of statements, there will be a bias. It's human nature. That's the first time I've heard of an independent inquiry being dictated to by so many people.

"If you have got that and people are reading and listening to things like that for 24 hours, then when they sat down on Wednesday morning for the first time to supposedly talk about it, I think people would argue whether they already had a decision in their minds. That's a process, and something for me would need to change."

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