By Greg Stobart at Etihad Stadium
Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish has staged another vigorous defence of Luis Suarez and again made suggestions of an FA conspiracy behind the eight-match ban handed to the Uruguayan striker.
Liverpool announced on Tuesday that they will not appeal the penalty given to Suarez for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, but in a strongly worded statement the club maintained the 24-year-old is innocent of the charge.
Following Liverpool's 3-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday night, Dalglish claimed there were significant omissions in the independent 115-page report that cited Suarez as an 'inconsistent' witness.
The Scot declined the opportunity to offer a public apology to Evra for what Liverpool insist was a cultural misunderstanding of the meaning of the Spanish word 'negro', which the player admits to using.
Asked why he felt Suarez was being targeted by the FA, Dalglish said: “Wrong boy at the wrong time. If you ask a linguistics expert, he will tell you that in the part of the country that he comes from it's perfectly acceptable.
"His wife calls him that and I don't think he is offended by her. We have made a statement and I think it is there for everybody to read.
“There are a lot of things we would like to say but we would only get ourselves into trouble. We are being evasive but we will only get ourselves into trouble.
“We know what's going on and we know what not in the report.
“It's unfortunate that you don't know the whole context of what went on. I can't say any more, it's up to the club. I don't think we are digging a bigger hole, it's unfortunate that we can't be more forthcoming.”
Dalglish also defended the decision of the Liverpool players to wear t-shirts in support of Suarez ahead of their game against Wigan last month – and insisted he is not worried that the former Ajax man will be targeted for the rest of his career in England.
Dalglish continued: “I think it was a fabulous statement to make – a gesture of support for a guy who is their friend and revered in the dressing room.
“If one of your guys was in trouble, would you support him? The players wanted to show their support for their team-mate, what's wrong with that?
“If you are asking me about Luis playing in England, then no I'm not worried.”
Liverpool raised a few eyebrows by announcing their decision not to appeal Suarez's ban on Tuesday, just three days after the panel's judgement was published even though the club could have waited up to two weeks before the ban kicked in.
The striker missed the defeat against City as the first match of his suspension and Dalglish spoke of his belief that the timing made little difference, with Suarez in line to return either against Tottenham on February 6 or Manchester United on February 11, depending on the club's progress in the FA Cup.
“He has got to serve eight games a some point,” Dalglish added. “I think it's better to get it out of the way. I will just be delighted to get him back.”