Fans should appreciate Suarez - Rodgers
1:38pm Monday 7th January 2013 in © Press Association 2014
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes English football fans should enjoy watching controversial forward Luis Suarez while they can.
The Uruguayan, whose career has been marked by a series of controversies, hit the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the wake of his handball goal that helped the Reds beat non-league Mansfield 2-1 in Sunday's FA Cup third-round tie.
"He is a wonderful professional. I think in this country we need to enjoy it whilst he is here because he is a brilliant talent," said Rodgers. "He is a good man as well, a good family man, and as a manager, he is someone who wants to come in and work."
Rodgers added: "He has had seven yellow cards this year, but he hasn't warranted all seven. He wanted to start yesterday's game, even though he has really been my only striker for the last six months.
"Yesterday was a game he was up for because it was street football for him, he enjoys that type of game. But I can only talk about his talents. I always try to educate the players, with regard to every aspect of their life. As I've said, he's very receptive, and we go forward with him."
Since moving to England he has served an eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra before refusing to shake Evra's hand in the next meeting of the sides last February, and has been accused by some managers of going to ground too easily to win free-kicks and penalties.
Despite the furore surrounding Suarez's goal and the debate as to whether he should have owned up to his indiscretion, Mansfield striker Matt Green knows he would have done the same if in that position.
Green set up a pulsating finish with a 79th-minute goal that arguably should have been the equaliser if referee Andre Marriner and his assistants had deemed Suarez's 19th of the season as a deliberate handball.
Green, who described his own strike as a "dream come true" and "something (he would) remember for the rest of (his) life", said of Suarez's goal: "Obviously, as a goalscorer you don't care how it goes in the net.
"I'm not saying that's the right way to put it in the net, but you claim anything as a striker."