By Paul Hassall
Dirk Kuyt reckons Luis Suarez will be "distraught" after being hit with a 10-match ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic - but insists his old team-mate will not be hounded out of Liverpool this summer.
The Dutch international, now with Fenerbahce, admits he was shocked by the Reds star's actions during the 2-2 draw with the west Londoners.
However, Kuyt remains adamant the Uruguayan will learn from his mistake and is convinced he will still be at Anfield next season.
"It's obviously very disappointing for him and everyone at Liverpool," Kuyt told Goal.com.
"I think you could see it was a bad incident and it was inevitable he would miss some matches. He will be so distraught that the ban is 10 games because that is absolutely massive.
"It seems extremely harsh, but that's the punishment so I think he needs to accept it and move on. The sooner everyone can draw a line under the issue the better.
"It's a blow for the club that it will impact upon next season. Obviously they'll be desperate to get back in that top four and Luis Suarez will be key to that. Losing him for those first few matches could be costly."
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English football is an area of stark contrasts. A place where a serious foul, that injures a rival and rules him out of action for months, at times is treated less seriously than diving in the box, or scoring a goal with your hand.
Perhaps it is the keen sense of machismo that is rooted in football in the country, where diving or protesting is seen as unsporting, cowardly, but dishing out a bad foul is a part of the game because it’s “a contact sport, for men”.
In any case, the analysis would be more pertinent from a sociological point of view rather than a footballing one.
The striker caused uproar with his infamous handball against Ghana at the 2010 World Cup while his final act in an Ajax shirt was another biting incident involving PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal.
Last season he was also at the centre of a racism row with Manchester United's Patrice Evra - but Kuyt insists his on-the-field indiscretions are completely out of character.
"I know he has got a bit of a reputation with the media and rival fans, but what I would say, is that I know Luis and he is a really good guy," he added.
"He is a good friend of mine and I will support him all the way. He has made a big mistake. He's apologised for it and I know how hurt he is at the moment.
"It's a mistake I don't think he will want to make again in his life. He would admit himself that it was stupid and he will be upset that he has caused such a problem for the club and his team-mates.
"He will be desperate to make amends.
"He's a great football player and a good person off the field. Sometimes when he's on the pitch he is so motivated to get the best out of himself that he does crazy things.
"But he shouldn't feel the need to do them because he is a huge talent."
Suarez's Liverpool future is uncertain, with Bayern Munich and Barcelona both heavily linked with the flawed star but Kuyt is confident the striker will stay loyal to Brendan Rodgers.
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"I'm sure the people inside the club are willing to forgive him. Of course, they will be disappointed by his actions but I think they will do whatever it takes to ensure it doesn't happen again.
"If you can get these things out of him he will be the perfect player for Liverpool. It's going to be a difficult time for him but let's hope he survives it and is setting Anfield alight again next season."
Suarez had gone into the clash with Chelsea hoping to reaffirm why he had been named on the PFA Player of the Year shortlist, but Kuyt feels the Uruguayan will now come away empty-handed.
"It will be very difficult for him now," said Kuyt.
"All you can say is that his performances during the season have been unbelievable. When I played with him he showed some incredible skill and was already one of the best in the Premier League.
"But I think this season he has been even better. He was on his way to winning one of the player of the year awards - if not both.
"I know there are others in the running but I don't think anyone could have argued if he had won.
"But it's more than likely this will have an impact unfortunately. I just hope he comes back even stronger following this suspension and wins awards in the future."
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