LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, January 18 – Luis Suarez could face sanctions from Liverpool after re-opening the controversy over his alleged diving, as the team prepares to face Norwich City at Anfield on Saturday.
The Uruguayan striker gave one of his finest performances of the campaign at Norwich in September when his hat-trick inspired a 5-2 victory for Brendan Rodgers’ team.
But Suarez’s season has been dogged by accusations of cheating, and Liverpool manager Rodgers is ready to punish his star player after he confessed in an interview to diving during a match against Stoke in October.
Suarez admitted to “falling” in an attempt to win a penalty during the goalless draw at Anfield.
Rodgers, who has resolutely defended the player against his critics, described diving as “unacceptable” and revealed the club would look to take action.
The Anfield manager said: “I think it is wrong. It is unacceptable. I have spoken to Luis and it will be dealt with internally. It (diving) is not something we advocate. Our ethics are correct.”
Despite a magnificent season on the pitch, Suarez has courted controversy, and was back in the spotlight recently following his handball in the build-up to his winning goal against Mansfield Town in the FA Cup third round.
Any destabilising effect on the team will be welcomed by Norwich.
A promising season has stumbled of late, and their goalless home draw against manager Chris Hughton’s former club Newcastle United was the first point they had earned in five Premier League games.
They have slipped down the table to 12th place, seven points clear of third-bottom Aston Villa, and while there is no immediate cause for concern, Hughton will be looking at games against Queens Park Rangers and Fulham next month as key fixtures.
Grant Holt, the top scorer for the past three seasons, remains the manager’s primary concern after he came off during his return to the side against Newcastle with a hamstring complaint.
Holt, Norwich’s player of the year last season, was in the starting XI for all six of Norwich’s wins this season but was missing in five of the six games they have lost.
Hughton said: “We’ve had to tread carefully with Grant over the past couple of weeks. What’s important is that we have Grant available for next week, the week after and the week after.”
With five of the seven teams above them in the table not in action on Saturday, Liverpool could steal a march in the race for European qualification if they prevail against the Canaries, and the omens are not good for Norwich.
Suarez has scored hat-tricks against them on two occasions, and Norwich last won at Anfield in 1994, when Jeremy Goss scored the only goal in the last game before the Kop was renovated.
SUAREZ RAP SHEET
Following is a timeline of incidents involving the Uruguayan international striker:
– Makes international debut for Uruguay against Colombia but is sent off late in the game after receiving a second caution for dissent.
– Having joined Ajax from Uruguayan club Nacional, he is suspended after a half-time changing room row with team-mate Albert Luque.
– Sent off in Uruguay’s World Cup quarter-final with Ghana for preventing Ghana from scoring a last-minute goal by handling the ball on the line. Enthusiastically celebrates Asamoah Gyan’s subsequent penalty miss from the sidelines before Uruguay go through to the semi-finals on penalties.
– Given a seven-game suspension by the Dutch Football Association and fined by Ajax for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a league match.
– Now at Liverpool, he causes controversy with a dive that results in a red card for Everton’s Jack Rodwell in the Merseyside derby.
– Accused of racially abusing Manchester United left-back Patrice Evra during a Premier League match, for which he later receives an eight-match ban and a £40,000 ($64,000, 48,000 euros) fine.
– Handed a further one-match ban after making an offensive hand gesture towards Fulham supporters.
– Sparks controversy again after refusing to shake Evra’s hand as United and Liverpool line-up prior to kick-off in a game at Old Trafford.
– Celebrates a goal against Everton with a comedy dive in front of Toffees manager David Moyes, who had claimed “divers” like Suarez were turning people away from the game.
– Handles the ball prior to scoring the winning goal in Liverpool’s 2-1 victory at non-league Mansfield Town in the FA Cup third round.
– Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers warns Suarez could face punishment from the club after admitting he dived to try to win a penalty against Stoke.