• Europa League

Reds optimistic Suarez will avoid ban

ESPN staff
February 23, 2013
Luis Suarez scored twice against Zenit St Petersburg © Getty Images

Liverpool are hopeful that Luis Suarez will avoid retrospective action from UEFA over an alleged stamping incident during the Europa League match against Zenit St Petersburg.

Zenit's players accused Suarez, 26, of deliberately stepping on defender Tomas Hubocan in the closing stages of Thursday's second leg.

Hubocan fell to the ground under pressure while trying to shepherd the ball out for a goal kick, and television cameras showed Suarez's foot in the small of the defender's back.

The Uruguay international, though, has insisted it was an accident, and Liverpool are understood to believe their top scorer has no case to answer after reviewing the footage.

Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers took no action at the time - not even awarding a free-kick - but could ask UEFA to review the incident in his match report.

If he does - and only if he does - then European football's governing body will decide early this coming week whether its disciplinary committee is required.

Suarez could face a three-game European ban, but Liverpool are optimistic that it will not come to that, feeling that Kuipers was well-placed at the time to deal with the incident.

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