Barnes bemoans Suarez criticism

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John Barnes has defended Luis Suarez over accusations that he is a diver, arguing that the Liverpool striker's playing style causes him to fall over.

Stoke manager Tony Pulis called the Uruguayan a cheat after he tried to win a penalty in the recent 0-0 draw at Anfield, but Barnes says the reputation he is building is unfair.

"If you look at Luis Suarez play, very often he goes to ground even though there's no-one around him because of the nature of the way he plays," he told Sky Sports.

"Suarez twists and turns more than anyone I've ever seen in the world and as a result of that he falls over and slips a lot.

"First of all, you have to say that because of the way he plays he's always going to fall over. That doesn't necessarily mean that because there's players around him that he is diving.

"Secondly, when you believe that someone is going to come and tackle you or someone is going to kick you and you take evasive action and they don't kick you and you go over, it is very difficult to say whether someone is diving or not.

"I haven't seen the incident from the weekend, but I'm talking generally."

Barnes, who represented Liverpool between 1987 and 1997, says fans are often too quick to point the finger at foreign players when it comes to diving, adding that home-grown footballers are often equally guilty of simulation.

"When it comes to this country we like to take the moral high ground in terms of what we believe should be done. Then we look at English players who've done it in the past - and we've seen it.

"Foreign players generally get more stick and get labelled 'divers' more than English players. Suarez, because of what's happened, will come under that, but he's big enough to take it."

Reds boss Brendan Rodgers has also backed Suarez over recent accusations of cheating, and will stand by the Liverpool forward as the debate over diving in the Premier League continues.

The Football Association does not currently allow players to be punished for diving retrospectively. Referees can only show a yellow card at most, but on Tuesday, FIFA vice president Jim Boyce said all associations should have policies banning the practice.

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