Brendan Rodgers tells Luis Suarez no one is irreplaceable

Inability of forward to retain self-control is causing damage to Liverpool

Liverpool's Luis Suarez after he appeared to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield yesterday. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Liverpool's Luis Suarez after he appeared to bite Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during the Premier League match at Anfield yesterday. Photograph: Peter Byrne/PA

Sun, Apr 21, 2013, 22:38

Brendan Rodgers has told Luis Suarez that no player is irreplaceable after the Liverpool striker disgraced himself by sinking his teeth into Branislav Ivanovic during Chelsea’s 2-2 draw at Anfield.

The Uruguay international’s Liverpool future is in doubt after he bit the Chelsea defender’s arm as the pair tussled for possession in front of the Kop goal.

Referee Kevin Friend missed the incident and Suarez was able to remain on the pitch to score the 97th-minute equaliser that prevented Chelsea reclaiming third place in the Premier League.

Suarez used his Twitter account to apologise for the incident: “I’m sad for what happened this afternoon, I apologize Ivanovic and all football world for my inexcusable behaviour. I’m so sorry about it!!”

Ian Ayre, the Liverpool managing director, cancelled a scheduled four-day trip to the Far East and Australia, where he was to promote the club’s pre-season tour, to deal with the latest controversy to befall the 26-year-old.

Review controversy

The Liverpool manager insisted he would review the 66th-minute controversy before making any comment on Suarez’s actions. “I will have to go away and review it. Until I see it, I will make an honest appraisal and comment afterwards on it,” said Rodgers.

“This is a club with incredible values and ethics so I’ll comment once I see it.”

Asked if he would sell Suarez in the event of his leading striker being found to have compromised those values and ethics, Rodgers replied: “It’s not for me to make any rash comments or any predictions now but like I said, this is a football club where historically players treat people with how the football club respects society, players and everyone.

“I will review it and we will review it as a club. There is certainly no one bigger than this football club, as a player or a manager. As football managers, staff and players we’re representing this great football club off the field and on particularly on the field.

“It’s just not the time to comment realistically on it now. I’ll review it with other people at the club and we’ll talk about it after.”

The Liverpool manager eventually conceded, however, that the club would not tolerate players who brought its reputation into disrepute.

‘Wonderful talents’

Rodgers added: “It doesn’t matter who, players are always replaceable no matter how good they think they are. That is how football works. Of course there are wonderful talents here we’ve seen at this club and others over many years.

“If you ever lose a player that you think you cannot replace, the next one still comes along. The standards at this football club have been met for many years and that’s why it is the worldwide institution that it is.

“The history of this club is about respect and how people are treated. And that is something that will always be maintained here and will always be long after I am gone.”

Rodgers has already disciplined Suarez once this season after the Liverpool striker admitted to diving in a vain attempt to win a penalty against Stoke City.

The striker received a seven-match ban from the Dutch FA in 2010 for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal while playing for Ajax and another lengthy suspension is likely to follow the Ivanovic incident from the Football Association.

“I will always speak openly and honestly and about the players and protect them when I can,” said Rodgers. “With all due respect I will make an honest appraisal of it.

Guardian Service