Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish praises 'ambassador' Luis Suárez

• Manager calls Suárez's 'unassuming' and 'fantastic'
• Dalglish denies racism is a problem in English football

Kenny Dalglish has always had a dry sense of humour but the Liverpool manager was deadly serious on Friday when he described Luis Suárez as a "great ambassador" for the club.

In terms of attacking excellence, Liverpool could wish for few better role models than the Uruguay striker but there is another side to Suárez, one that serves as a magnet for controversy.

The forward's seven goals in 12 games for Dalglish's team this season have arrived against a background of assorted incidents, including an accusation of diving from Sir Alex Ferguson and, rather more seriously, racism by Manchester United's Patrice Evra. Suárez vehemently denies the latter suggestion and has been backed strongly by his manager, who last week issued a robust defence of the 24-year-old's integrity. On Friday Dalglish was simply eager to talk about the former Ajax striker's "humility".

"Luis has been fantastic and the great thing about him is that he is very unassuming as well," he said, ahead of Liverpool's trip to West Bromwich Albion, a game Suárez may have to sit out with an ankle injury. "Everybody can see what he can do on the pitch, but he has got no edge to him. He doesn't think he is better than anyone else.

"He is a great ambassador for the football club. For us, as well as his football, the other things he brings to the club are very important as well. He is just a fantastic person as well as a fantastic footballer. As I have said before, he has only been here since January and already we are running out of compliments to pay him, which I suppose is a huge compliment in itself."

Reiterating his assertion that Suárez has Liverpool's full support in rebutting the Evra accusations, Dalglish said he did not believe that English football harbours a problem with racism.

"I don't think it is prevalent in the game here, and it certainly isn't at this football club," he said. "We have got a case going on which seems to be dragging its feet. We would rather have it done and dusted, out in the open and whoever is the guilty party, whether it's the person who said it or the accuser, [should] get their due punishment. We look forward to ours coming to a conclusion. For me, I don't see racism, as far as this football club is concerned, apparent in any way, shape or form."


Louise Taylor

The GuardianTramp

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