David Moyes concerned Luis Suarez's diving could define Merseyside derby


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The Independent Football

David Moyes said yesterday that he wants harsher penalties for those guilty of diving and admitted that he is concerned about Luis Suarez's reputation ahead of tomorrow's Merseyside derby at Goodison Park.

Suarez was accused of trying to con his way to a penalty by the Stoke City manager, Tony Pulis, earlier this month and the Uruguay international has been caught up in a number of other controversial incidents during his 21 months at Anfield.

Moyes, the Everton manager, fears fans could lose interest in the game unless the football authorities act to cut out diving by handing those responsible lengthy suspensions.

Suarez, 25, was at the centre of the incident which saw the then Everton midfielder Jack Rodwell harshly sent off in the corresponding fixture last season as Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners at the home of their rivals.

"I would because I think he has got history," was Moyes' reply when asked yesterday whether he had concerns about Suarez after last season's events at Goodison. "But I am not the referee. But I tell you what it will do, it will turn supporters away from football. It is hard for the referees, it really is. But it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results."

As recently as 7 October, when Suarez fell under the challenge of Stoke's Stephen Nzonzi and Marc Wilson during a goalless draw at Anfield, he was criticised for trying to influence referees. Replays showed he had not been touched, dropping to his knees in an appeal to win a penalty.

Referee Lee Mason took no action at the time but Pulis made his irritation clear after the game.

Andre Marriner has been charged with keeping control of tomorrow's meeting, and Moyes wants tougher bans handed out for those found guilty of conning referees. "There are not that many players who do it," added Moyes. "Banning? If you did that it wouldn't take long to cut it out. It wouldn't take much to employ four or five people on a panel – players, managers and referees. I think it would be easily done."

Everton are six points ahead of Liverpool but Moyes said: "Everton's sole focus shouldn't be on finishing above Liverpool. We have to think about finishing above Manchester United and City. That might sound crazy but that's what I'm thinking about."