Reading captain McAnuff keen to avoid Suarez diving 'witch hunt'

The 30-year-old, who will lead his side out against Liverpool at Anfield on Saturday, insists the Uruguayan has been refused several correct penalty claims in the past
Reading captain Jobi McAnuff has spoken out in defence of Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, insisting the Uruguayan should not be the subject of a "witch hunt" over diving.

The 25-year-old has been hit with harsh criticism this week for his attempts to win a penalty during the Reds' draw with Stoke prior to the international break.

However, McAnuff believes Suarez has been on the wrong end of poor decisions in the past and called for referees to be more flexible in judging perceived dives.

"We have to be a little bit careful of creating a witch hunt because we have to be fair and judge every decision individually,” he told reporters.

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"With any player, especially in the box, you have to be careful, probably more so with him. In the last game he was literally nowhere near him.

"There's been some instances with Suarez that have been penalties which he hasn't got and of course on the other hand there's the instances that were dives.

"But sometimes it's not a penalty nor a dive - there is an in between. You can be running at such pace that it doesn't take a lot to knock you off your feet or unbalance you.

"The referee might not deem it enough to be a foul, which is fine, but there's a massive argument now that if it's not a penalty, then it's a dive, when there is in fact an in-between.

"I've had a couple this year in that category 'were they, weren't they'. Some people say I went down too easily.

"I don't think I did, especially in one of the cases and the referee didn't think it was enough contact to give a foul."

The Royals' clash with Liverpool on Saturday will see the former Jamaica international come up against the man who signed him for Reading, Brendan Rodgers.

But the 30-year-old says he will not be focusing on his relationship with the Northern Irishman ahead of the game at Anfield.

He added: "I've played against a lot of former managers because I've been around a bit. You can't get sidetracked with any other issue.

"I haven't looked at how Brendan is doing at other clubs because you can't be too romantic and overly friendly with people.

"You work with someone when you're there. You go or they go and you get on with it, it's as simple as that. Whatever the circumstances of Brendan leaving, since Brian [McDermott] has come in it's been an upward curve.

"I played for Brendan at Watford and then he brought me here, so from that point of view I'm pleased he did that because I've had a great time here, probably the best of my career.

"But I've got a great relationship with Brian and that's the main issue."