Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association following the Uruguayan’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic during yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield.
The FA said the match officials had not seen the incident and it had been “retrospectively reviewed”.
It added that, while the standard punishment for violent conduct was a three-match ban, such punishment was “clearly insufficient in these circumstances”.
Suarez has until 18:00 BST on Tuesday, 23 April to respond to the charge before an independent regulatory commission will be convened on the following day.
Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre today provided an update on the consequences of Luis Suarez’ bite on Branislav Ivanovic in yesterday’s 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield. Here are his comments in full:
Ian, everyone is still talking about Sunday’s incident with Luis Suarez. What is the latest on the situation?
I think the most important thing is that we acted swiftly yesterday. Luis issued his apology and then we spoke with him last night and then again this morning. We’ve taken action to fine Luis for his actions. Brendan has spoken to him and I’ve spoken to him, and Brendan will be working with him further on his discipline. You can see when you speak to him how sorry he is about it and he’s certainly shown quite a lot of contrition to us – and as part of that, he’s also asked we donate the fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. I think he felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday. We’ll work with Luis – Brendan particularly – on this side of his character in his game. Hopefully that puts the matter to rest from our point of view and we’ll wait and see if there’s any further action from the football authorities.
Have you had any contact with the owners regarding this situation?
Yes, of course. With any incident like this, any major incident at the club, we’re in direct dialogue with the owners, always. I spoke to them last night and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter.
Will the events of the last 24 hours have any bearing on Luis’s future at Liverpool Football Club?
Not at all. It affects his future in the sense that we have to work with him on his discipline – but Luis is a very important player to the club. He’s a very popular player with his teammates. As we keep saying, he signed a new four-year contract last summer and we’d all love to see him here throughout that contract. He’s a fantastic player, top scorer and everything we’d want in a striker, so there’s no change there. This is more about getting him back on the right track and it’s largely down to Brendan now to work with him on that side of his character.
Suarez himself wrote on his official Twitter page:
“For my unacceptable behaviour the club has fined me. I have asked the club to donate the money to the Hillsborough Family Support Group for the inconvenience I have created to the Liverpool fans and to Ivanovic.”
Meanwhile, police became involved after members of the public made complaints to the Merseyside Police.
The North West force then contacted their counterparts in Surrey, who visited Ivanovic on Sunday evening – however, the Chelsea defender does not wish to press charges.
Merseyside Police said in a statement: “Following an incident at the Liverpool v Chelsea game yesterday officers have spoken to Branislav Ivanovic in person.
“He had no apparent physical injuries and did not wish to make a complaint.”
PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said the players’ union would offer the striker help to deal with his temper:
“There is no doubting his football ability, that’s why it is so disappointing and embarrassing when he lets himself down,” he said.
“We have to work hard on anger management now. We have trained counsellors in this field and we will be offering their services to Liverpool and the player to try to improve matters.”
Suarez is also one of the six candidates for the PFA Player of the Year award to be announced on Sunday, and Taylor confirmed that the latest controversy would not affect his position on the shortlist:
“It’s decided on votes and it is a football matter but of course it is embarrassing that it should happen.”
Suarez now awaits the verdict of the Football Association, who are to review the incident and the match official’s report before taking further action, but is likely to face a lengthy ban.
NOTE: Article on Luis Suarez, the bite incident, and the wider issues around him: Coming soon, watch this space.
Luis Suarez’s 96th minute header snatched a point for the Reds on a controversial afternoon for the Uruguayan at Anfield. Watch our Suarez/Ivanovic bite Reaction Here… Despite being much the better side, it was Rafa Benitez’s Chelsea that twice lead through Oscar, and an Eden Hazard penalty, which bookended a great goal from Daniel Sturridge. Post Match The Redmen TV bring you uncensored analysis and reactions from LFC fans worldwide…
Liverpool have reacted both swiftly and strongly to the bite incident involving Reds striker Luis Suarez in the 2-2 draw with Chelsea at Anfield today. The club have issued the following response:
Luis Suarez said: “I am deeply sorry for my inexcusable behaviour earlier today during our match against Chelsea.
“I have issued an apology and have tried to contact Branislav Ivanović to speak to him personally. I apologise also to my manager, playing colleagues and everyone at Liverpool Football Club for letting them down.”
The club’s managing director Ian Ayre commented: “Luis has made an unreserved apology for his actions today.
“His behaviour is not befitting of any player wearing a Liverpool shirt and Luis is aware that he has let himself and everyone associated with the club down. We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the FA.”
Brendan Rodgers added: “Having reviewed the video footage and spoken to Luis, his behaviour is unacceptable and I have made him aware of this.”
Luis Suarez headed in a dramatic late equaliser to earn his side a draw in a pulsating encounter with Chelsea. However, the match was marred by an unsavoury incident in which Suarez appeared to bite Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic, seemingly unnoticed by referee Kevin Friend.
The Uruguayan guided in a header from a Sturridge cross deep into stoppage time but it is his apparent bite on Ivanovic which will make the headlines, for all the wrong reasons.
Oscar’s header had earlier given Chelsea a half time lead, before substitute Daniel Sturridge equalised shortly after the break.
Eden Hazard’s penalty restored the Blues’ lead, only for Suarez to level in the 97th minute to secure his side a point.
The altercation between Suarez and Ivanovic overshadowed a match in which current Chelsea and former Liverpool manager Benitez was afforded a raucous reception on his return to Anfield, although the Spaniard was ultimately denied what would have been a priceless victory in his current side’s attempts to ensure they are playing Champions League football next term.
The draw saw Liverpool remain in sixth place, five points behind rivals Everton who have yet to come to Anfield to face their Merseyside neighbours, while Chelsea were left in fourth.
The home side forced the first opening in the game, Glen Johnson poking wide after Jordan Henderson and Luis Suarez combined to send the Reds full back through on goal. Ramires then tested Reds keeper Pepe Reina from range, but chances were few and far between; both sides were neat in possession but wasteful in the final third.
It was no surprise therefore that, when the opening goal arrived, it came from a set piece. Poor defending allowed Oscar to peel away from his marking before nodding Mata’s corner past Reina.
The goal handed Chelsea the momentum and they pushed forward in search of further goals, although Reina nearly gifted them a second goal, gathering the loose ball as it threatened to cross the goalline after he had fumbled David Luiz’ long range free kick.
The home side struggled to match the intenstity their opponents were exhibiting, with Suarez’ angled shot being the only notable response to Chelsea’s breakthrough, to which Blues keeper Petr Cech was equal.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers, who was taking charge of the Reds for the 50th time, brought on Sturridge at the break, and the striker’s introduction almost paid immediate dividends; after dancing past several defenders he slipped a pass through to Steven Gerrard, whose goalbound shot was diverted behind by Cech’s outstretched boot.
Soon after, Sturridge worked himself ample space to crash a thunderous drive from range against the post, before the home side’s pressure produced an equaliser.
Stewart Downing hooked a pass towards Suarez, who executed an inch-perfect first time cross to the far post for Sturridge to convert against his former club.
However, the away side were quite literally handed a chance to restore their lead minutes later. Suarez, whilst grappling with former Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, handled from a corner, and Eden Hazard made no mistake from the spot, sending Reina the wrong way in the process of rolling the ball into the opposite corner.
Suarez fired a free kick wide as he attempted to make amends for his culpability for the penalty concession, before then appearing to bite Ivanovic’s upper arm as the duo tangled in the area, but escaping punishment.
Substitute Jonjo Shelvey dragged a shot wide wastefully after Sturridge’s deft flick allowed Jordan Henderson to present his England under 21 teammate with a glorious chance to level, before Henderson himself sidefooted wide.
However, as Chelsea teetered on the brink of three precious points, Suarez had the final word, heading home in the final minute of added time.
NOTE: My article on the Suarez bite, the consequences, and the wider issues surrounding the Uruguayan and his future at Liverpool: Coming soon.
Before the match, the talk was all about the return of Rafa Benitez to Anfield. Afterwards, all the focus was on Luis Suarez, who’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic will be the main talking point, rather than his dramatic last-gasp equaliser. Liverpool opted to go with the same team who beat Aston Villa three weeks ago, while Chelsea continued to go with ex-Red Fernando Torres up front.
The Reds started brightly, with Glen Johnson in particular providing attacking output on the right hand side. It was the former Chelsea man who had the first attempt at goal, after Suarez found him on the edge of the box. Luckily for Chelsea, he failed to get his shot on target. Benitez’s side struggled to make any inroads on Pepe Reina’s goal early on, while the Kop continued to sing in support of the manager that guided the Reds to Champions League success in 2005. The same could not be said about Fernando Torres, who was booed and jeered with every touch. However Chelsea managed to work themselves back into the match, having a decent spell of possession after ten minutes. Chelsea’s first attempt on goal came from Ramires, who took a shot from outside the box, just about parried away by Reina.
Sloppiness crept into Liverpool’s game, Jordan Henderson in particular was guilty of spurning opportunities to launch an attack. Suarez’s footwork was also not up to his usual high standard, and he was lucky this wasn’t punished after 23 minutes, when Oscar drilled a shot at goal, which failed to trouble Reina. The end to end action continued, Jose Enrique linked up well with Coutinho, only for Henderson to overhit a pass to Enrique. The Blues got the ball upfield, and Enrique did superbly to get back and prevent Hazard from having an opportunity to cross. The left back only delayed the scoring, however, as Oscar headed in from the corner. It was a soft goal, much like John Terry’s header in the fixture at Stamford Bridge. Agger should have been watching Oscar’s run, and Carragher should have got in front of Oscar to win the ball.
The away side were buoyed by this, and Henderson earned himself a yellow card for a foul on Oscar. David Luiz took the free-kick from 35 yards, and Reina almost made an embarassing mistake, dropping the ball and coming close to rolling over the line. Luckily Reina redeemed himself and stopped it from being 2-0. Chelsea were passing the ball better and making more opportunities, while Liverpool looked out of ideas and subdued. Coutinho was enduring a frustrating game, as he managed to find Cech rather than Suarez on several occasions with his passes.
Torres’ first major contribution to the match came after 38 minutes, when he was booked during aerial duel with Carragher. The Reds nearly equalised just before half time, after Downing’s decent run ended with a cross to Suarez, who’s shot was parried away by Petr Cech. After a good spell for the home side, it was Enrique who had to be alert, dealing with Mata’s cross into the box to prevent it finding Torres. The last action of the first half saw Henderson finds Suarez on the edge the box. Suarez managed to get a shot away, but the angle was too tight for him to get enough power on it.
Liverpool desperately needed a change at half time, and sure enough, former Chelsea striker Daniel Sturridge came on for the disappointing Coutinho. Sturridge immediately made an impact, cutting inside from the right wing to find Gerrard. The captain got a shot away, which was put out for a corner by the outstretched leg of Petr Cech. The January signing continued to make his mark on the game, hitting the post from 30 yards out. Chelsea managed to clear the danger and put some more pressure on Liverpool’s defenders, Carragher showing his experience to deny Hazard a shot on goal, and instead give away a corner. From the corner, Enrique’s sliced clearance had to be saved by Reina, and Torres’ volley was high and wide. Sturridge finally his impressive start with a goal. Enrique lofted the ball over to Downing, who’s clever pass found Suarez. The Uruguayan then crossed the ball to Sturridge, who made no mistake with the finish.
The scoreline didn’t stay the same for long, when again a Chelsea corner caused havoc in the penalty area. The ball came to Suarez, who foolishly handballed it to given away a penalty. Without regular penalty taker Frank Lampard, it was Suarez’s fellow PFA Player of the Year nominee Eden Hazard who took it. After a long wait, the Belgian sent Reina the wrong way for his 10th goal of the season. Chelsea again improved after going ahead, Enrique having to be alert to deal with Ramires. The fascinating tussle between Torres and Carragher continued, this time the veteran defender was the one booked by Kevin Friend. Chelsea’s free kick was poor, and it gave Suarez an opportunity to run with the ball in space. Suarez gave the ball to Gerrard, who left it for Daniel Sturridge. Gerrard got the ball back, but his shot was blocked. It was in this build up where video replays suggest that Suarez bit Chelsea defender Ivanovic during an altercation. The already booked Suarez was not reprimanded for this, suggesting the referee didn’t see the incident. This was reminiscent of a similar incident when he was at Ajax, where he was given a 7 match ban for biting Otman Bakkal.
Tempers continued to flare, as Jamie Carragher was furious when the Reds weren’t awarded a penalty. Replays indicated that he was fouled just outside the area, and the referee had made the right call in giving them a free kick. Suarez took it, dragging it agonisingly wide. Liverpool were beginning to take control again, and again it was Luis Suarez creating the opportunity. The striker slalomed his way through Chelsea’s defence, before having his shot saved easily by Petr Cech. The changing of formation to 4-4-2 appeared to have lifted the players, and the attacking positioning improved a great deal. Despite this, they created few clear cut opportunities, with the solid Branislav Ivanovic proving tricky to get past.
Shelvey was introduced for the last ten minutes, and really should have equalised after 84 minutes. A fantastic touch from Sturridge found Jordan Henderson, who passed the ball along the ground to his England U-21 teammate. The youngster failed to take the opportunity however, hitting the side netting. Times were getting desperate for the Reds, who were keen to keep up their unbeaten run, and restore some pride. Agger’s header went just wide of the post, while Shelvey and Enrique both had shots blocked by Ivanovic. Liverpool had so many late opportunities, but the game appeared to be over after the ball was cleared after the allocated 6 minutes of added time. The referee allowed Liverpool to have one final chance, which was duly taken. Sturridge delivered a beautiful cross into Luis Suarez who headed into the net with the last kick of the game.
It capped off a Jekyll and Hyde display from Luis Suarez, who was admittedly lucky to still be on the pitch. What is unclear now is whether the FA and Liverpool will take retrospective action on Suarez, but unfortunately his contribution today may well be his last of the season, if not of his Liverpool career.