Kenny Dalglish attempts to move on from Luis Suarez ban

 

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish admits they will miss Luis Suarez as he serves his eight-match ban but insists they have to look past the Uruguay international's absence.

The club announced they had decided not to appeal against the Football Association punishment imposed for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra just over an hour before last night's 3-0 defeat at Manchester City.

With one match already out of the way and the prospect of possibly half the suspension being served in cup competitions, Dalglish will be hoping the unavailability of his top scorer and chief creator will not be detrimental to their Champions League qualification ambitions.

Suarez will miss both legs of their Carling Cup semi-final against City and if, as expected, they get past League One Oldham in Friday's third round a further two will be taken up by the FA Cup.

That would see Suarez available to return for the equally-important month of February, when they host Tottenham and Everton either side of a potentially vitriol-filled trip to Old Trafford.

"He has an eight-game punishment and he has to serve it so I suppose now is as good a time as any to serve it," said Dalglish.

"I think it was better to get the situation over and done with and leave it there.

"Luis is a fantastic player and fantastic person so we he will be missed but we just have to get on with it.

"It is not better to miss him at any time - we'd much rather have him but we don't."

The loss of Suarez, who has been Liverpool's best player since he joined almost 12 months ago from Ajax, can be offset slightly by the return of captain Steven Gerrard.

Against City he added another 33 minutes to two previous second-half substitute appearances as he continues his comeback from two months out with an ankle infection.

It seems unlikely he will start against Oldham but Wednesday's semi-final first leg back at the Etihad Stadium looks more realistic.

"Stevie is improving his level of fitness all the time but we have to be very careful as to how he prepares," said Dalglish.

"It would be wrong of us to be negligent and throw him in and undo all the good work he has done so far.

"We would love to have him back fit and well but we just have to be a bit patient."

In his absence, and that of the injured Lucas Leiva, Jay Spearing has come into central midfield to perform the defensive role.

He may not have been able to keep City's marauding hordes at bay last night but he admits they were architects of their own downfall.

The Reds spurned a great chance to take the lead before Jose Reina misjudged Sergio Aguero's shot, Yaya Toure was allowed to powerfully head in a corner and James Milner scored a penalty even after City had Gareth Barry sent off.

"The goals we conceded were our own fault and we could have done better to prevent them," Spearing told liverpoolfc.tv.

"I thought as a team we did quite well overall. We used the ball well at times and just some lapses in concentration cost us the game.

"Sometimes it is the small details which can cost you in these games.

"When it was still 0-0 Jordan Henderson put a great ball through to Stewart Downing and he was unlucky not to score when Joe Hart made a great save.

"If that had gone in it could have been a different story."

PA

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