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Rodgers defends Liverpool's Suarez amid accusations of diving

updated 5:03 PM EDT, Mon October 8, 2012
Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez (R) is one of the English Premier League's most controversial footballers
Liverpool's Uruguayan striker Luis Suarez (R) is one of the English Premier League's most controversial footballers
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers defends Luis Suarez as striker is accused of diving
  • Uruguayan appeared to go to ground in match versus Stoke under no contact
  • Rodgers says Suarez was stamped on by Stoke defender Robert Huth
  • Stoke manager Tony Pulis called for Suarez to be punished for what he saw as a dive

(CNN) -- In English soccer it is an offense that is taken as seriously as almost any other -- diving. And once again, it is controversial Liverpool striker Luis Suarez in the firing line.

After their Premier League clash on Saturday, Stoke manager Tony Pulis called for the Uruguayan to be banned by the Football Association, for what he saw as Suarez's "embarrassing" attempt to win a penalty.

It is not the first time Suarez has been accused of play acting but his manager Brendan Rodgers has launched an impassioned defense of his star player, claiming that coverage of his fall has overshadowed a stamping incident earlier in the match.

Read: Man United jump to second in Premier League

Stoke's German defender Robert Huth appeared to tread on Suarez during a tangle at Anfield, leaving the striker with a stud mark on his chest, but the FA has decided not to take any action against the German.

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And through the club's official website, Rodgers has expressed his frustration that all the focus is on Suarez, and not Huth.

"I find it incredible that in nearly all the coverage about Luis Suarez this weekend, very little focus has been placed on the fact that he was actually the victim of a stamping incident within the first five minutes of the game," said Rodgers.

"At this moment there seems to be one set of rules for Luis and another set for everyone else."

Pulis' Stoke team has a reputation as being one of the most physical sides in the English Premier League and only two weeks ago he labeled two Chelsea players "laughable" for what he saw as contrived attempts to win a penalty.

The Welshman implored the authorities to clamp down on players who dive and told reporters a three-match ban would stop them from "falling over."

"Suarez is a fantastic player with great ability," he added. "He is a handful and he is the one player we are frightened to death about.

"What happens is that he puts enormous pressure on the referee. Every time he goes down, you have got 40,000-odd Liverpool supporters getting after the referee and I don't think that's right. It is a tough enough job as it is."

Suarez has become one of the league's most talked about players since joining Liverpool from Dutch club Ajax in January 2011.

He is also one of its most divisive.

In this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair
Brendan Rodgers, Liverpool manager

The 25-year-old was banned for eight Premier League matches after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra last year.

His technical ability means he is always closely guarded by opposition teams, and Liverpool have complained in the past he doesn't get enough preotection from the officials.

Rodgers thinks Saturday's incident with Huth is a perfect illustration of that. In the Liverpool manager's opinion, Suarez is being persecuted.

He added: "Diving and simulation is obviously a wider issue in football and one that we all agree has to be eradicated from our game but there were other incidents this weekend that didn't seem to generate the same coverage.

"No one should be distracted by the real issue here, both at Anfield and at another game played on Sunday, when Luis and another player were hurt in off-the-ball incidents that went unpunished but were caught on TV cameras.

"I believe some people need to develop a sense of perspective and I also believe in this moment the vilification of Luis is both wrong and unfair."

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