Luis Suarez handball decisive for Liverpool

Controversy and Luis Suarez have not exactly been strangers since his move to Liverpool. The Uruguayan striker has already suffered a lengthy ban for a racist comment, been accused of diving on several occasions, and has now been vilified for a blatant handball leading to the winning goal in Liverpool’s FA Cup victory over Mansfield.

Liverpool were 1-0 ahead when Suarez’s shot rebounded off his hand and fell kindly. He booted the ball into the net in a resigned fashion as if expecting to hear the referee’s whistle. Instead the officials let the goal stand, despite the Mansfield protests. It didn’t help that Suarez celebrated the goal by kissing his wrist, his usual celebration but tactless in the circumstances.

When the non-league side scored a late goal it meant that Suarez’s hand had been decisive in denying them a valuable replay. Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriott couldn’t believe the goal had been allowed. "When you see Luis Suarez laughing as he kicks the ball across the line, he knows himself what happened. Stewart Downing said to us that he couldn't believe professional officials missed that. When it turns out to be the decisive goal, it's a sickener for everyone."

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers pointed out that it wasn’t up to Suarez to make refereeing decisions. "It's hit his hand but what do you want him to do in that situation? It is up to the officials what they do. I said to the fourth official straight away: 'Was that handball?' and he said they had seen it but they decided that it was not deliberate."

That seems a bizarre decision given that the hand allowed Suarez to score. Once again though, the Uruguayan saved Liverpool from considerable embarrassment. "I think people are starting to recognise the ability the boy has," Rodgers said. "He is a brilliant talent as you have seen in that little cameo when he has scored one and might have scored a number more."

Indeed, he could have scored a handful.

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