Liverpool: Suarez has damaged our brand

Reds chief Ian Ayre believes the Uruguayan’s actions over the past year have hurt the club, but is pleased to see him back on the pitch

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre admits Luis Suarez’s behaviour has damaged the club’s brand.

Suarez returned to action on Wednesday in Liverpool’s Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester United – his first competitive appearance for the Reds since he was handed a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

In 2011, the controversial Uruguayan was handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, actions that Ayre says have hurt the club’s global standing.

“It was damaging to the brand but this club is bigger than one player. Luis is a street fighter and we had to deal with it,” Ayre told reporters.

“We’ve worked a lot with him since the Ivanovic incident and he’s back to what he’s best at – terrorising defenders.”

Whilst remaining positive about Suarez’s future with the Merseyside outfit, Ayre insists that there are plans in place should any similar incidents occur.

“We all move on together. Hard work and lessons have been learnt post-Evra and we now have a process in place for any crisis. Not a Suarez crisis, just any one,” he added.

Liverpool’s managing director also revealed progress is being made with the redevelopment of Anfield.

“Our ambition is to stay at Anfield, and we’re about 90 per cent down the road in securing proprieties affected by redevelopment,” he continued.

“I’m reasonably confident, the first phase will be closer to 60,000 capacity.”

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