Former Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish believes the Premier League club should not wash their hands of Luis Suarez in the wake of his latest biting controversy.
Suarez, who was initially brought to Liverpool in 2011 by Dalglish for £22.8m, has been banned from any football-related activity by FIFA for four months after he appeared to bite Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini in last week’s World Cup Group D clash.
The Uruguay striker denies deliberately sinking his teeth into Chiellini, insisting he fell, and the Uruguay FA are preparing to lodge an appeal while Liverpool are believed to be waiting for more information from FIFA before making a decision.
Although the ban has the potential to rule out last season’s PFA and FWA player of the year for a significant chunk of Liverpool’s 2014-15 campaign, Dalglish believes they will stick by their man.
“I think you will find that Liverpool will not turn their back on Suarez, whatever the ban FIFA have decided he must serve. Of course it will be a heavy blow if the club has to do without him for the opening months of the season,” he said in his Daily Mirror column.
“That will seem harsh, particularly as he has been in someone else’s care for the last few weeks and Liverpool have had no control over him.”
It is the third time the 27-year-old has been involved in incidents of biting.
While at Ajax, the Dutch FA banned him for seven matches for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal and last April the FA gave him a 10-game suspension for nibbling on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm.
Liverpool stood by Suarez after the Ivanovic incident – just like they did after he was accused, and later found guilty, of racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra in 2011 during Dalglish’s second spell managing the club.
Dalglish, who came out strongly to defend Suarez in the press at the time, feels that when a club buys a player “he becomes your responsibility”.
“You don’t just turn your back on someone because he has done something wrong,” he added.
He points to last season’s 31-goal return from Suarez as a shining example of what can happen with the right rehabilitation and feels Liverpool have been hard done by given the Chiellini saga has been totally out of their control.
“He had meetings with the club psychiatrist, Steve Peters, as other players have, and he showed remorse and a willingness to be rehabilitated,” Dalglish said.
“Last season, he was a fantastic player for Liverpool, not just because of the goals he scored and the goals he made but because of his behaviour, too. He behaved impeccably, actually, something that was recognised when the Football Writers Association made him their Footballer of the Year.
“At the end of the season, he was taken away from the -environment that he had responded to so well in Liverpool.
“He went to Uruguay to prepare for the World Cup and Liverpool had no control over him from that point.
“You can’t really ask any one person why what happened against Italy happened, because there is only person who knows and that is Luis – some people have -injuries you can’t see.”