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Liverpool won't sell Suarez as PFA offer 'anger management' following bite row

Suarez was fined by Liverpool this morning with the money going towards the Hillsborough Family Support Group.

Image: Peter Byrne/PA Wire/Press Association Images

LIVERPOOL WILL NOT sell Luis Suarez, managing director Ian Ayre said as the fallout from the striker’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic continues.

Suarez was fined by Liverpool this morning as the club wait to see what action FA officials will take following the controversy at Anfield.

The Professional Footballers’ Association revealed that they will offer anger management counselling to the Uruguyan, who faces a lengthy ban after he was seen to bite Ivanovic during yesterday’s 2-2 draw against Chelsea.

Suarez was at the heart of the afternoon’s drama, setting up strike partner Daniel Sturridge for Liverpool’s first goal before conceding a penalty which allowed Chelsea to take the lead again.

The PFA Player of the Year nominee then snatched a point with a equaliser in the seventh minute of stoppage time but the late heroics were overshadowed by his latest on-field controversy.

The incident divided Liverpool’s former pros with Graeme Souness saying that it would be very difficult for Suarez to stay at Liverpool while John Barnes said that he will have to suffer the consequences, but dismissed talk of selling or sacking him as “ridiculous.”

Ayre, who cancelled a scheduled trip to Australia to deal with an incident which is “not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt”, said that the club will work with Suarez on his discipline.

But after speaking with Liverpool’s American owners, he insisted that the events of the last 24 hours will not have any bearing on the player’s future.

“It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline – but Luis is a very important player to the club,” Ayre told LiverpoolFC.com.

“He’s a very popular player with his teammates. As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract.

He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it’s largely down to [manager Brendan Rodgers] now to work with him on that side of his character.

Suarez, who spoke with Ivanovic to apologise for his “inexcusable behaviour”, conceded last night that he had let down everyone involved with the club. The internal fine will be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group at his request, Liverpool confirmed this morning.

Now he must wait for the FA to examine referee Kevin Friend’s match report as well as the video evidence before deciding how to proceed. In November 2010 while at Dutch club Ajax, Suarez was banned for seven league matches for biting PSV’s Ottman Bakkal on the shoulder.

Last season he was hit with an eight-match suspension and fined £40,000 after a lengthy FA disciplinary hearing found that he had racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a Premier League match between the sides.

“You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he’s certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us,” Ayre said.

I think he felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday. We’ll work with Luis – Brendan particularly – on this side of his character in his game. Hopefully that puts the matter to rest from our point of view and we’ll wait and see if there’s any further action from the football authorities.

He added: “With any incident like this, any major incident at the club, we’re in direct dialogue with the owners, always. I spoke to them last night and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter.”

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Niall Kelly

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