With Liverpool still waiting on the FA's written reasoning behind the Luis Suarez ban, any decision as to what comes next remains on hold. Despite that, and in a move that will surely lead to howls of derision in some quarters, Rodgers chose to go ahead and address the issue at his press conference ahead of Saturday's match against Newcastle rather than simply issuing a "no comment."
When asked about his troubled star striker and the ten match ban he now faces, Rodgers continued to praise the player's drive and mentality, despite it at times leading to incidents such as Sunday's regrettable moment of madness. He also revealed that Suarez has been unable to answer when asked what had led him to bite Branislav Ivanovic—it had been an entirely impulsive act.
"We were very shocked and bitterly disappointed," said the Liverpool manager, adding that his and the player's upset was not caused by the ban itself, as "no one could've complained if it'd been a six game ban," but rather by the severity of it. He further insisted that he believed the severity of the punishment had more to do with the player involved in the incident than it did with the incident itself.
And when it came to the incident itself, Rodgers revealed that at the hearing the club did not seek to compare the bite to past violent acts such as the recent horror-tackle by Wigan's Callium McManaman that could conceivably have ended Newcastle left back Massadio Haidara's career.
Instead, the manager said, they contrasted the incident to Jermain Defoe being picked by FA to represent England immediately after a biting incident that saw him receive only a yellow for his attempts to gnaw on Javier Mascherano's shoulder in a case the FA chose not to revisit as the referee had seen it at the time.
"If we had half a dozen more players like him this football club would be in a better position," Rodgers added, continuing the theme of standing by their man set by managing director Ian Ayre following the incident. "He won't be thrown in the garbage. I look in his face and I see a genuine guy who is bitterly disappointed. It'll take a bit of time for him to reflect.
"He's still very much part of the Liverpool family and very much part of the future."
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