Past controversy should not count against Suarez in Player of the Year bid, claims Downing

The Liverpool winger believes his team-mate has "a hell of a chance" of claiming the 2012-13 award and believes he should be judged solely on his performances this season
Liverpool winger Stewart Downing hopes Luis Suarez's bid for the PFA Player of the Year award does not fall down on the controversy he has been caught up in the past.

Suarez scored a hat-trick against Wigan on Saturday to move ahead of Robin van Persie in the race for the Premier League Golden Boot with 21 goals in 27 appearances.

17/4 Liverpool are 17/4 with BetVictor to beat Spurs by exactly two goals on Sunday
The Uruguayan looks set to battle it out with the Manchester United striker and Gareth Bale - the two previous winners of the end-of-season going - and Downing feels he should be judged on his performances alone.

"It should only be judged on his performance on the field and you can't fault Luis for that," Downing told reporters.

Suarez was suspended for eight games for racially abusing Patrice Evra last season and has also admitted to diving, which Reds manager Brendan Rodgers labelled "unacceptable".

"Obviously he's had things which have happened in the past, but he's got on with his football and does his job at the end of the day," Downing continued.

"It should be judged on how he plays and for me, that's all it boils down to. Nothing else should matter and for me, I think he's got a hell of a chance."