Dalglish defends team over Suarez support

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has dismissed suggestions the
outside issues surrounding Luis Suarez's eight-match ban will spill over
and affect his team.

While the Uruguay international has been the focus of most of the attention even before he was found guilty of using insulting words towards Patrice Evra, with a reference to the Manchester United player's skin colour, other players are being drawn in.

His team-mates issued a statement of support prior to Wednesday's goalless draw at Wigan.

They also wore T-shirts in the warm-up depicting an image of Suarez with his name and number seven on the back, but that provoked further criticism of the club's stance in fully supporting the striker.

Former United defender Paul McGrath criticised Reds defender Glen Johnson for joining the show of solidarity, which prompted the England international to issue his own response on Twitter.

With the matter set to rumble on for some time there is a danger it will become the predominant issue concerning Liverpool and players could be affected.

However, when asked whether he was worried about that happening, Dalglish replied: "I don't think so."

The Scot feels the squad's stance had actually had a positive effect, particularly on Suarez.

"He's been quite emotional and very grateful," he added. "I don't think it is ever a disappointment when the people you work for give you their undivided support and I think that is the least he deserves."

Dalglish also defended the club's approach to the situation after they released a strongly-worded statement criticising the Football Association shortly after the news of Suarez's ban broke on Tuesday night.

"The statement couldn't have caused anyone any trouble and I don't think the players have caused any trouble with the FA, either by their statement or support by their T-shirts," Dalglish said.

"If we are not in any trouble we will leave it at that before we do get in any trouble."

Evra's manager Sir Alex Ferguson was asked for his thoughts on the T-shirts but just replied: "I have nothing to say about it."

However, Liverpool have received support from QPR manager Neil Warnock.

"At every club you support your players the best you can whatever you think is right," he said. "I think you need to know everything about the case. We're guessing what was said. We haven't got a clue.

"Normally two and two makes five with you guys [the media] so until we see the written facts I won't comment."

On the severity of Suarez's eight-game ban, Warnock added: "I don't think it could be any stronger. It surprised me. But where have we had anything to compare it to?

"As long as the evidence is proved in the right places, I haven't got a problem with it.

"There are experts dealing with it and all the evidence is being gathered - that is what the English justice system is all about."

That system is currently moving slowly as Liverpool do not expect to receive the written verdict from the independent commission until after Christmas.

The moment it does arrive the club will have 14 days to consider their response and appeal if they choose, otherwise the suspension will kick in after that fortnight has expired.

Dalglish added: "Most of the people have had their say, we've had our say, but we will wait for the judgement and take it from there - but it won't be tomorrow.

"The club have issued the statement, the players have issued their statement visually and verbally, but we have to wait for the written report because no-one knows [what it contains].

"At this moment in time I don't think the club are permitted to go into any further detail than they have done."

PA

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