Carry on diving: Brendan Rodgers claims going to ground is not cheating

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

Liverpool manager says players' simulation is part of the game and Luis Suarez deserves a break

Brendan Rodgers has argued that diving has become such an endemic disease in the Premier League it is folly to single out Luis Suarez for abuse.

Before last Sunday's Merseyside derby David Moyes said that those like Suarez who were prepared to fall over at the slightest provocation would drive supporters away from the game.

Moments into the fixture, the Everton manager was presented with the sight of Suarez flinging himself at his feet after Liverpool's opening goal. Just before the interval, his own captain, Phil Neville, was booked for diving.

"People now see it is an issue at every club," said Rodgers, the Liverpool manager. "You look at last weekend and see two players you would deem to be great professionals in Angel Rangel and Phil Neville.

"I worked with Angel and he's one of the most honest people I have come across in my life, but he was booked for diving against Manchester City.

"Phil Neville plays for Everton. He is 35 and over the years you would consider him to be an honest pro but he gets booked for diving after his manager has read the riot act to his players and to other people's players. And then you have Fernando Torres booked for diving against Manchester United.

"Hopefully, people won't continue to vilify Luis Suarez now because he was the easy target before. They should look beyond themselves and their own players to see that it is something that is now part of the game."

The Liverpool manager seems to accept Michael Owen's argument that, if you are touched by a defender, you have the right to earn a penalty by going down. Sir Alex Ferguson, by contrast, suggested that Torres could have stayed on his feet at Stamford Bridge, even though he was clearly fouled by Jonny Evans.

"It doesn't mean you are a cheat," said Rodgers. "People see it as part of the game, although of course we don't like it when it is blatant."

This might be the season in which Suarez's value is recognised beyond Anfield. There has been so much baggage surrounding him – the biting incident that ended his career in Dutch football, the handball on the line to deny Ghana in the World Cup quarter-final, the racist language directed at Patrice Evra – that it has obscured his qualities as a forward.

They have never been more needed by Liverpool than they are now. Given the folly of allowing Andy Carroll to leave for West Ham before securing a replacement and the injury to Fabio Borini, the Uruguayan is now Liverpool's only fit senior striker and has responded with six goals and two assists.

Goodison Park saw both sides of the man. Had not a perfectly good goal been disallowed, he would have won the Merseyside derby. However, the spiteful raking of his studs down the back of Sylvain Distin's legs ought to have led to his dismissal before he met Steven Gerrard's free-kick.

Nevertheless, Suarez has found support from a strange quarter in Alan Pardew, who tomorrow will attempt to become the first Newcastle manager since Kevin Keegan in 1994 to win at Anfield. Pardew argued that Hatem Ben Arfa, a similar player in many ways, should model himself on the boy who grew up near the "Big Jump Falls" of the Uruguay River.

"Suarez is an extraordinary talent, there is no doubt about that," Pardew said. "You just have to see how many chances he creates in a game, how many things he does. You could do a highlights show for him on his own."

Pardew's tactics are probably correct. There is, Rodgers said, no point in trying to wind Suarez up as Moyes may have been attempting to do before the derby. "Other managers have tried to use it as a psychological tool to put him off and to affect referees but it makes him stronger," the manager said. "It is best to say nothing.

"I remember reading something from a journalist in Holland when Suarez first came to this country saying he will always divide opinion. If he plays for your team, people will love him. If not, he'll get a bit of stick."

Going, going, gone: Infamous recent dives

1. Luis Suarez v Stoke

The Liverpool forward hit the deck several seconds after an attempted challenge from Marc Wilson last month.

2. Gareth Bale v Arsenal

Bale ensured he made contact with Wojciech Szczesny to win a penalty for Spurs last February.

3. Didier Drogba v Arsenal

The Chelsea striker's 2006 encounter with Jens Lehmann produced a prime example of theatrical behaviour in football.

4. Phil Neville v Liverpool

Neville fell under pressure from Dan Agger last week in the Merseyside derby and later admitted he dived.

5. Ashley Young v QPR

Shaun Derry was sent off after falling victim to Ashley Young's tumble at Old Trafford last April.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments