Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers believes Luis Suarez is being used as a scapegoat for diving while other offenders are getting away without punishment.
The Northern Irishman has grown tired of criticism aimed in the Uruguayan’s direction and believes simulation is a problem at “all levels” of the British game, with Tottenham winger Gareth Bale booked twice for diving already this season.
And, while insisting the issue is something that needs to be prioritised, Rodgers acknowledged that it has become “part of the game” and poses a problem for referees.
“Luis Suarez was held up as the only one that seemed to be doing it,” Rodgers told reporters. “Whenever many other players were doing it, both British and European, it seemed to go very quiet.
“It’s something that is the responsibility of the players. The managers can only guide and give their opinion to the players. I’ve seen it at all levels – the Premier League, reserve games, youth team games and some kids football.
“You see it now becoming a part of the game but it’s certainly something we want to eradicate. It’s a difficult one for the referees because they are having to make that judgement straight away.”
Rodgers also shared his views on the chaotic scenes at the end of the Manchester derby last weekend, condemning the actions of supporters who threw coins at Manchester United players, but dismissed the notion of installing nets around the pitch as not the “way forward.”
“What happened last week was scandalous – it could have taken out Rio Ferdinand’s eye,” Rodgers continued. But to go back to what it was years ago or putting nets up, I don’t see that as a way forward.
“You get one or two mindless people at games and the focus has to be on them. How can we punish them so they never get the chance to do it again, not punish the other 40, 50, 60 thousand people? They are there for the passion and love of the sport.”
Discussing the recent Uefa sanctions handed to Serbia, the Reds boss also expressed his disappointment at the leniency showed by European football’s governing body.
He added: “I felt for the England players and staff that were there. It was bitterly disappointing to say the least.
“It shows you the seriousness of how we see it and how we’ve worked very hard to get where we are today – and there is lots of work still needed to eradicate it. In terms of Uefa, it was disappointing.”