Kenny Dalglish tips Alex Ferguson for England in bid to divert attention


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The Independent Football

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish borrowed a trick from rival Sir Alex Ferguson in attempting to deflect attention away from Luis Suarez ahead of the striker's first meeting with Manchester United since his suspension for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

A quirk of the fixture list means the Uruguay international is set to play his first away match since returning from an eight-game suspension at Old Trafford tomorrow.

Suarez is certain to encounter a hostile atmosphere and, after trying to play down the encounter earlier this week, saying a line should now be drawn under the incident and Suarez would shake the hands of all the United players, the Reds boss has gone a step further.

Dalglish knew his tongue-in-cheek suggestion the Football Association should approach fellow Scot Ferguson to replace departed England manager Fabio Capello would grab attention and remove some of the focus on his player.

The United boss has used similar diversionary tactics in the past and Dalglish, who was criticised for his handling of the Suarez affair, appears to have picked up some pointers.

"England are on the lookout for another manager and if you are looking for a manager I think you look for the one with the best record since the Premier League started of looking after English and British players and the success they have had," said 60-year-old.

"If I was in their position I'd be looking at the best one and if it's not available then start going down from there.

"Whether they want someone of their own nationality or the want the best it's up to them."

Dalglish was not referring to Redknapp, although said: "Harry would be fantastic", and when asked whether he meant Ferguson the Scot, with a smile, added: "I never said that."

While his comments may have been in jest, Dalglish has at least partially moved the spotlight away from Suarez, who made his comeback with a 24-minute substitute cameo in Monday's goalless draw at home to Tottenham.

The 25-year-old appeared to show no ill-effects from missing the whole of January as he produced a typically determined, sparky display and could even have won the match late on.

Dalglish refused to comment on the likely reception Suarez will receive from United fans.

"We will comment on football," said the Reds boss.

"We enjoy going there to play football and that is all we are going to concentrate on, we've covered every other aspect of what has to be covered.

"In the build-up to the FA Cup tie here (which Liverpool won 2-1) everyone played their part; both clubs, both sets of fans and the referee (Mark Halsey) was magnificent in the way he handled the game.

"If it is the same again then everyone will be happy."

Dalglish did, however, say he felt Suarez had not suffered much from a lack of pitch time and likened the situation to 12 months ago when the striker arrived from Ajax at the end of January.

Then he had served a seven-match ban for biting an opponent in Holland and had not played because of the Dutch league's winter break but scored in his first match.

So his short, impact spell against Spurs was nothing the Liverpool manager did not expect.

"He was off for a long time when he came here and signed and he came on and scored against Stoke so it never surprised us because we know what type of person he is," added Dalglish.

"When you see them in training you can analyse where they are because training is a little bit different to match day.

"He keeps himself fit and we know matches are the quickest way to get him back to match-standard and that is what he needs.

"But he will always be fit and sharp."