Rodgers plays down Suarez cheating claims after Liverpool win

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has attempted to focus on his side’s victory over Southampton that sees the Reds move to 11th in the Premier League rather than allegations of cheating directed at Luis Suarez, the Daily Mail has reported.

Suarez was booked for deliberate handball after he appeared to try to punch the ball into the Southampton goal during the 1-0 win on Saturday. The yellow card was the Uruguayan’s fifth of the season so far and means he will miss Liverpool’s next league outing, away at West Ham United on Sunday.

Liverpool were leading Southampton by that stage, Daniel Agger netting just before half-time, but in the 80th minute Steven Gerrard played the ball into the penalty area towards a waiting Suarez. But the striker could not reach the cross with his head, instead batting the ball towards goal with his hand. The ball went wide and referee Michael Oliver cautioned Suarez for his action.

Rodgers insisted that even if Suarez did use his hand, it should not be classed as cheating. He said: “ I didn’t see it and don’t know what he was booked for, but it most certainly was not cheating. If he has done that (stuck his hand out), it’s probably just natural instinct. Without seeing it clearly, I’m sure it was instinctive and not cheating, as someone has suggested.

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