Liverpool's Kenny Dalglish defends team over Luis Suarez support

Media playback is not supported on this device

Liverpool players offer Suarez support

Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has defended his players after they were criticised for their public backing of Luis Suarez.

The team issued a statement and wore T-shirts in support of the striker after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

The move drew criticism from a number of black footballers, including Paul McGrath and Jason Roberts.

But Dalglish insisted: "I don't think the players have caused any trouble."

Suarez was given an eight-match ban and fined £40,000 by the Football Association after being found guilty of using insulting words to Evra during a game at Anfield on 15 October.

Suarez's comments included a reference to the defender's colour.

Liverpool insist their player is not a racist and have repeatedly declared their support for the 24-year-old.

"I think that is the least he deserves," added Dalglish, who said Suarez had been "quite emotional and very grateful" for the support he had received.

The Liverpool players reinforced their backing for Suarez by issuing a strongly worded statement on Tuesday condemning the FA for its actions.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Suarez 'emotional and grateful'

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

"We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognise the way he has been portrayed."

While warming up for Wednesday's game at Wigan, the players also wore T-shirts featuring an image of Suarez on the front, plus his name and number seven on the back.

Former Manchester United and Aston Villa centre-half Paul McGrath described the move as "shameful" and said he would not have worn such a T-shirt.

"If I was in Glen Johnson's situation, I'd have thrown the shirt to the floor," the former Republic of Ireland international said.

Johnson later responded on Twitter: "I will support who I want when I want! There are a lot of reasons why I'm standing by Luis Suarez!"

Suarez's lawyer says the player intends to appeal against the FA's decision but Liverpool have yet to decide what to do.

They are still awaiting the full written verdict of the independent commission which heard Suarez's case but are not expected to receive it until after Christmas.

When it arrives, the club have 14 days to consider their response and appeal if they choose, otherwise the suspension will kick in.

"Most of the people have had their say, we've had our say but we will wait for the judgement and take it from there," Dalglish said.

"The club have issued the statement, the players have issued their statement visually and verbally, but we have to wait for the written report because no-one knows [what it contains].

"At this moment in time, I don't think the club are permitted to go into any further detail than they have done."

For the latest updates and reaction to this story, read Sportsday Live. Have your say on Twitter via the hashtag #bbcsportsday.

Top Stories