• Premier League

Suarez actions 'damaged' Liverpool image - Ayre

ESPN staff
September 26, 2013
Rodgers impressed with Suarez

Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has admitted the actions of Luis Suarez have "damaged" the club's brand.

Suarez returned to competitive action for Liverpool in Wednesday's League Cup loss against Manchester United at Old Trafford, following the completion of his ten-match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a Premier League match in April.

In 2011, Suarez was handed an eight-match ban after being found guilty of racially abusing United defender Patrice Evra.

The striker expressed a desire to leave Anfield during a turbulent summer of transfer talk, but Liverpool blocked any notion of a move and also rejected bids from Arsenal.

Ayre insisted Suarez has worked hard on improving his character, but maintained the Uruguayan's behaviour has had a negative effect on the club's image.

During a talk at the Sports Industry breakfast in London, Ayre said: "Any types of incident of that nature are damaging to the brand".

However, Ayre insisted Suarez is a vital part of the team and described the player as a "street fighter".

Kenny Dalglish, who signed Suarez for Liverpool in January 2011, responded with some surprise to the accusation that his recruit had damaged the club.

Asked about the comments by Ayre, Dalglish said: "He'd know better than anybody. He is entitled to make the statements that he wants to make.

"I don't know much about the commercial world of football, and how it would damage, or whether it would help or hinder."

Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live, Dalglish added: "I would have thought the greatest thing that helps or hinders your brand is results. And also there's got to the feel-good factor and the behavioural factor in and around the club, but I wouldn't know if what Luis has done has affected Liverpool in any way, shape or form.

"Ian Ayre is more learned than myself and if Luis has done that and it has affected the brand then I'm sure Luis would be disappointed also."

Following an impressive performance on his return, Suarez insisted he will stay committed and "try his best" for as long as he remains at the club.

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