Friday, December 23, 2011

Lawyer: Suarez Likely To Appeal Ban

The lawyer of Luis Suarez believes the Liverpool striker will likely appeal against an eight-match ban handed down by the Football Association.

On Tuesday, Suarez was handed the ban and a £40,000 fine after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

The FA have since confirmed that the suspension could be extended if he launches a failed appeal, but Alejandro Balbi, who is also Suarez's agent, said the Uruguay international was "convinced" the decision could be reversed.

"It seems to us absolutely out of proportion," Balbi said. "It's one of the hardest sanctions handed down in English football. He is firmly convinced this hard sanction can be reversed."

Balbi, speaking from Montevideo, says Suarez is determined to clear his name following the verdict which caused the striker "a great deal of pain".

Suarez's team-mates, meanwhile, wore T-shirts in a public show of support prior to their draw with Wigan on Wednesday evening, something which will no doubt give the 24-year-old hope as an appeal appears increasingly likely.

"Luis strongly denies the racist acts levelled against him. He has met his punishment with a great deal of pain but also with a lot of dignity and with the support of his family and friends," said Balbi.

"He will protest his innocence right to the end. He wants to restore his tarnished image, at least at the heart of English football.

"He is deeply upset but he has told us that he's going to redouble his efforts to continue to play the best way possible not only for his English club but also for the Uruguay national team."

Suarez has been given 14 days in which to launch an appeal against the FA's decision.

Suarez Ban Could Be Extended

The Football Association has confirmed that Luis Suarez's eight-match ban could be extended if he appeals against the suspension.

On Tuesday, Suarez was handed the ban and a £40,000 fine after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

Liverpool reacted angrily to the news, stating they would take every step possible to fight the punishment of Suarez, who has 14 days to respond.

The club is waiting for the full written judgement before deciding on their next course of action, aware that Suarez's ban can be increased, reduced or cancelled altogether by an appeal board.

Meanwhile, the Liverpool players have issued a joint statement to stress their support for Suarez.

The statement read: "Luis Suarez is our teammate and our friend and as a group of players we are shocked and angered that he has been found guilty by the FA.

"We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that. We know he is not racist.

"We are a squad of many different nationalities and backgrounds. All of us support the club's commitment to fighting racism. All of us accept there is no place in the game for any form of discrimination. As a group of players we totally support the Kick it Out Campaign.

"We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognize the way he has been portrayed. We will continue to support Luis through this difficult period, and as a popular and respected friend of all his team-mates, he will not walk alone."

Dalglish Praises Liverpool Fans For Vocal Support Of Luis Suarez

Kenny Dalglish has hailed the Liverpool fans that made the trip to Wigan for the support they showed controversial striker Luis Suarez in his side’s 0-0 draw on Wednesday night.

Liverpool had released two club statements since the FA announced Suarez’s eight-game ban for "misconduct" towards Patrice Evra, and the players warmed up in 'Suarez 7' t-shirts as a show of support.

The fans were on the same page and could be heard from the first minute singing Suarez’s name, while Uruguayan flags were spotted numerous times in the Liverpool end.

“We stand right beside him and we always have done and always will do,” Dalglish told Sky Sports. “I think that’s reflected in the reception he got from the fans, and also from the support the players showed towards him as well.

“It's all very well and good telling players to control themselves but maybe the FA should start controlling crowds. Suarez has never disappointed us since the day he came in the door.”

Suarez was responsible for Liverpool's best chance of breaking the deadlock, winning a penalty given for handball against Gary Caldwell with an overhead kick.

However Charlie Adam had his spot-kick tipped around the post by the imperious Ali Al-Habsi to produce Liverpool’s fourth missed penalty of the season.

“We look for positives, we’d love to put them all away at a higher percentage than we do,” Dalglish said.

Despite the obvious disappointment in missing out on three points, Dalglish was still proud of the efforts of his players in a game that could have gone either way.

“It’s a hard fought draw for us to come and get a point, for 20 minutes the pitch wasn’t too bad and that’s when we played our best football, the longer it went on the more difficult it was for us to play the way we want," he added.

“We're not unhappy with the performance. Maybe there are some aspects that we can improve on. I don't think we can be unhappy with the performance of the players, I think they gave us everything.”

Agger - Suarez No Distraction

Liverpool defender Daniel Agger insists his team-mates are focused on doing their best for the club and not Luis Suarez's situation.

The Uruguay international has been hit with an eight-game ban for a misconduct charge along with a £40,000 fine by the Football Association.

The Liverpool players showed their support for Suarez pre-match against Wigan by donning wearing T-shirts featuring his image on the front and number on the back.

Liverpool could only muster a goalless draw at the DW Stadium and the Danish stopper has denied that Suarez's heavy ban and their show of public support was a distraction.

"That is not on our mind," Agger said of Suarez's situation. "We are playing football and that is most important, we don't think about that stuff.

"The squad is together, that is the way it is. It (support for Suarez) has never been in doubt.

"Of course it is second nature to back our friend but the most important thing is to win football games - it just wasn't a big success at Wigan."

Charlie Adam missed a second-half penalty for Liverpool and Agger admitted it was a frustrating night for Kenny Dalglish's side.

"It is a frustrating night because we went there for a win," he added.

"I think we had the better, more clear chances. We are just not finishing the games.

"The first 20 minutes we played really well but when you are not scoring goals you are not winning games.

"The good thing about football is there is always another chance (at home to Blackburn on Boxing Day) and we have to be more clinical in that game."

Suarez T-Shirts Spark Angry Response

Liverpool's decision to wear t-shirts in support of Luis Suarez before their game at Wigan Athletic on Wednesday has been criticized by some prominent black footballers.

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa centre-back Paul McGrath was one of the first to react, and he was disappointed that the club have chosen to support a player found guilty of using racist language in such a way.

Suarez is, pending an appeal, facing an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine for an incident involving Patrice Evra.

"As an ex-footballer having experienced racist comments throughout my career I was saddened to see Liverpool players wear those t-shirts last night," McGrath said on Twitter. "I would have been much happier if they had worn anti-racist t-shirts."

Blackburn Rovers striker Jason Roberts also took to the social networking site to say: "The stance on the Suarez issue from LFC has bemused me. Are United going to print Evra shirts now? Some issues are bigger than football."

Ex-Newcastle defender Olivier Bernard told Sky Sports: "I really didn't think it was fine to wear the T-shirts. I can understand the club's side of it, but in society we can't accept racism and give support to a player who has used racist words.

"It's not okay to use racist language and the message they sent out yesterday was a bit wrong. I don't mind them giving support to Mr. Suárez, but I just think it's a bit wrong to wear the T-shirt because that means they have allowed racist language. I just don't understand it."

Mesut Ozil Refuses To Comment On Liverpool Link

Real Madrid playmaker Mesut Ozil is remaining tight-lipped on reports linking him with a move to Liverpool, insisting that he is happy at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The 23-year-old has adapted well to life in La Liga since arriving from Werder Bremen in August 2010 but, despite being a first-team regular, he rarely plays 90 minutes under coach Jose Mourinho.

That has prompted speculation that he might be open to a move to Liverpool, who are reportedly interested in adding some more creativity to their midfield, but Ozil has resisted the opportunity to add any fuel to the fire.

"I play in Madrid and I am very happy there," the Germany international is quoted as saying by DHA. "I do not want to say anything else."

Ozil did admit, however, that he is currently enjoying the fact that he gets to play alongside Turkish duo Hamit Altintop and Nuri Sahin, formerly of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, respectively.

"We are very good friends," he revealed. "I already knew them from Germany. Now they are playing with me in Madrid.

“I am very glad to be playing in the same team as them. Nuri also scored his first goal [against Ponferradina on Tuesday night], I'm so glad."

Liverpool Fans Hoping For Roberto Soldado To Join In January

Liverpool should sign Valencia striker Roberto Soldado to help solve their goalscoring crisis, according to a pole conducted by GiveMeFootball.

The 26-year-old has scored 16 goals this season with Valencia lying seven points off the pace in La Liga.

The Reds' need for a striker has swelled in recent weeks, with their inability to convert openings holding them back in pursuit of qualification for the Champions League.

Four successive home draws with Manchester United, Norwich City, Swansea City and Manchester City leaves Kenny Dalglish's side two points off fourth placed Chelsea.

With an eight-match FA ban looming over Luis Suarez, and Andy Carroll yet to find form in the red of Liverpool t he club are in dire need of bringing in some fresh blood.

When poled, 87% of supporters wanted to see Soldado recruited in the upcoming transfer window to help bare the potential loss of Suarez.

Supporters were less than enthused with other potential candidates with Hugo Rodallega leading the likes of Lucas Oscampos, Rory Donnelly and Nikica Jelavic.

It's left to be seen whether Dalglish will be tempted to delve into the market, but supporters have spoken as to who they'd like to see join the Anfield ranks.

Torres Rejects Exit Reports

Chelsea's £50million striker Fernando Torres has brushed off reports that the Blues could be looking to cut their losses and sell him in January.

The Spain international has endured a torrid time at Stamford Bridge since arriving from Anfield in January for a record-breaking fee, with goals and confidence in short supply.

Torres' troubles have led to suggestions that the West London club were ready to off-load him in the transfer window, speculation which was firmly rejected by manager Andre-Villas-Boas.

And now the 27-year-old has insisted that he pays no attention to the recent claims as he has little faith in the media in England.

Torres told Canal+ Liga TV: "When I read something in the Spanish press, I think so. When I read it in the English press, I know that's a lie."

The misfiring forward has scored just three times in the league since arriving at Chelsea, but insists he will get back to his best and deserves more respect from his critics.

Torres added: "It's true that Vicente Del Bosque (Spain coach) is worried about me and my form for Chelsea. It's up to me to go back to being the striker I was before.

"If I go back to how I was a few years ago, I will again play an important role in the Spanish national team.

"I am going to try to be very humble and get back into the Chelsea starting line-up. My form has not been good but I am world and European champion and I deserve more respect.

"It's hard being on the bench but I respect the players who are playing. I'm going to support the team and get back in."

And Torres has again claimed the full story over his departure from Merseyside has not been told to the Anfield club's supporters.

"The Liverpool fans don't know the truth about why I signed for Chelsea," he said.

"The fans don't even know half of what happened. They don't know what the people in charge at Liverpool are like - they have a completely different perception of what they are like.

"They made promises that they didn't keep and I left because I realized I didn't have time to be part of a project that would take years.

"I have nothing against the Liverpool fans. I didn't want to leave Liverpool the way I did but the club lied. I was let down and I don't understand why the fans hate me."