Liverpool Fines Suarez for Biting Chelsea’s Ivanovic
Premier League soccer club Liverpool fined striker Luis Suarez after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic during a game yesterday.
The Uruguayan bit Ivanovic on the arm during the second half of Liverpool’s 2-2 Premier League tie with Chelsea at home in Anfield.
“We’ve taken action to fine Luis for his actions,” Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre said today in a statement on the club’s website. He added manager Brendan Rodgers had spoken to Suarez, and that he would be “working with him further on his discipline.”
Liverpool has asked Suarez to donate his fine to the Hillsborough Family Support Group, which represents and supports families that lost members in the 1989 incident that killed 96 Liverpool supporters at Sheffield Wednesday’s stadium. It didn’t disclose how much it had fined Suarez.
“I think he felt like he let a lot of people down yesterday,” Ayre said. “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.”
The club has also been in touch with its owners, Fenway Sports Group, about yesterday’s incident.
“I spoke to them last night, and they were happy with the way we were handling the matter,” Ayre said.
“His behavior 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,” Ayre had said in a statement last night. “We will deal with the matter internally and await any action from the Football Association.”
Also last night, Suarez said in a statement that he was “deeply sorry for my inexcusable behavior.” The Uruguayan striker set up the Reds’ first goal and got a yellow card after his handball gave Chelsea a penalty kick for its second.
“I’ve just spoken to Ivanovic on the phone and I could apologize directly to him,” Suarez, who was last week nominated for the Professional Footballers’ Association player of the year award, posted on Twitter. “Thanks for accepting.”
Today, Gordon Taylor, chief executive officer of the PFA, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that the incident was “disappointing and embarrassing,” and offered Suarez help with “anger management.”
Blues defender Ivanovic complained to referee Kevin Friend that he had been bitten on his right arm by Suarez after they clashed inside the Chelsea penalty area. After reviewing a videotape and speaking to Suarez, Liverpool Manager Brendan Rodgers said his player’s conduct was “unacceptable.”
Suarez, who yesterday became the first Liverpool player to score 30 goals in a season since Fernando Torres, has a history of controversy.
While at Ajax, he accepted a seven-game suspension from the Dutch soccer association after biting PSV Eindhoven player Otman Bakkal on the shoulder during a match in Amsterdam. At the 2010 World Cup, he was sent off in a quarterfinal after blocking a goal-bound header with his hand. Ghana missed the resulting penalty kick, and went on to lose to Suarez’s Uruguay team in a penalty shootout.
With former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez and ex-Reds striker Torres returning to Anfield yesterday, Oscar gave Chelsea a 26th-minute lead. Daniel Sturridge made it 1-1 in the 52nd before Eden Hazard’s 57th-minute penalty restored the visiting team’s advantage. Suarez’s header in the seventh added minute made it 2-2.
“I was disappointed with the late goal conceded,” Benitez said in comments on Chelsea’s website. “Especially because I can’t understand why there were six minutes and 45 seconds stoppage time.”
The result left Chelsea in fourth place, the last of the Champions League qualification spots, one point ahead of Tottenham and two behind third-place Arsenal.
Tottenham scored three times in seven minutes in a 3-1 win that left Manchester City on the brink of relinquishing its title.
Manchester City’s defeat at Spurs all but ended its title defense. Manchester United, which has a 13-point lead atop the standings, needs three more points to secure a record-extending 20th league championship and can clinch the trophy as soon as tonight, when it hosts Aston Villa.
City took the lead yesterday with Samir Nasri’s fifth- minute goal, and coasted until Clint Dempsey scored in the 75th minute. Jermain Defoe put Spurs ahead four minutes later and Gareth Bale completed the scoring in the 82nd minute.
“In the first half we didn’t play with confidence, but we always had the desire to come back into the game,” Spurs manager Andre Villas-Boas said in a televised interview. “In the second half everything changed. We found more spaces and we found the back of the net, deservedly.”
City has 68 points through 33 of 38 matches, five more than Arsenal, which has played one game more than the rest of the top five. The top four make the Champions League, Europe’s elite club competition.
“I can’t believe we lost this game,” City coach Roberto Mancini said. “We had the game under control, we played well for 80 minutes. This has been our problem all year.”
Two days ago, Reading and Queens Park Rangers moved to the verge of relegation. Reading lost 2-1 at Norwich and QPR was beaten at home by Stoke 2-0 to leave both teams anchored at the bottom of the standings with 24 points, 10 fewer than Aston Villa, which is just above the three teams that are relegated to the second-tier Championship.
In other games, Arsenal beat Fulham 1-0 as both teams finished with 10 men. West Ham defeated Wigan 2-0, Sunderland beat Everton 1-0, West Brom drew 1-1 with Newcastle, while Swansea and Southampton finished 0-0.
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