Liverpool legend Alan Hansen has criticised the Reds’ current striker, Luis Suarez, for diving and said he is making life hard for himself in the Premier League.
Suarez was heavily criticised by Stoke City manager Tony Pulis on Sunday for going down in the penalty area when no apparent contact had been seen – Pulis called for the FA to ban the Uruguayan retrospectively.
Liverpool’s desperation at not being able to break the deadlock in the 0-0 draw at Anfield may be behind Suarez’s attempts to win a penalty, but Hansen claimed the striker has nobody to blame but himself.
“There's no doubt about it that he goes down very, very easily," he said in an interview with the BBC.
“I think his reputation precedes him. It's really, really difficult for the referee to decide if contact has been made.”
Brendan Rodgers’ side are struggling in the Premier League, having won just once this season, and Hansen also believes that Suarez going down to easily is actually affecting Liverpool’s chances of getting out of this rut.
He claimed that the Anfield club would have been awarded more penalties and fouls if Suarez had not got himself a reputation for it – though he did say that Liverpool had been unlucky in this respect.
"Three weeks on the trot Suarez should have had penalty kicks, culminating in the one at Norwich where he was hit from behind, hit on the head, and pushed over," Hansen added.
“On each occasion the guy that made the tackle ran after the referee and said he was diving. It's very difficult for him to get a penalty kick.”
Hansen, who is one of the most decorated players in British football history, also had some advice for Liverpool’s top scorer so far this season on how to shake off his damaging reputation.
“When there's minimal contact, he's got to try to stay on his feet. If you stay on your feet for six weeks, it [the reputation] goes away and they'll pick on someone else.”