• Premier League

Comolli: Shame if victimisation drives Suarez away

ESPN staff
January 11, 2013

Liverpool's former director of football Damien Comolli has warned that Luis Suarez could be driven away from the English game, claiming the Uruguayan is being "victimised".

Suarez was again embroiled in controversy over the weekend when he handled the ball before scoring what turned out to be Liverpool's winning goal in a third round FA Cup tie against non-league Mansfield.

He has also been accused of diving this season, and was banned for eight games last year after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.

But Comolli, speaking to the BBC, praised Suarez - signed for £22.7 million during his reign with Kenny Dalglish - as and insisted that the negative press could drive him away.

He said: "It'll be an absolute shame for English football if this victimisation drives him away. I find it extremely hard to understand why people look at all the bad aspects and not how good the player is.

"He is a fantastic individual and professional - totally committed to his club, team-mates and job. He'll give you everything. He's a winner.

"People need to be very careful what they say and stop criticising him. He's someone you'd want to go to war alongside. I don't think you can captain Ajax as a foreigner at 21 years of age if you're not a great individual."

The 25-year-old Suarez has scored 40 goals in 80 appearances for Liverpool, and has been by a distance the most impressive of the players brought to Anfield by Comolli and Dalglish.

During the pair's reign, big money was also spent on players including Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson, all of whom came in for criticism.

Comolli, relieved of his duties a month before Dalglish was dismissed during the close season, defended the purchases and said: "You cannot buy young players and not be able to wait for their talent to develop. We brought in very good players. You need to give players time."

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