Liverpool chief: Suarez has 'damaged club brand'

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Liverpool striker Luis Suarez returned to action in the Capital One Cup against Manchester United on Wednesday after a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea's Branislav Invanovic.

Speaking to a Sport Industry event in London, Liverpool Managing Director Ian Ayre has said:

"Any types of incident of that nature are damaging to the brand."

Suarez had previously received an eight-game ban for racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra in 2011. Liverpool have come under fire for their management of the situation, which ended in a lengthy ban for Suarez.

After the incident, Ian Ayre was forced to defend Liverpool's stance on racism, when players were seen to wear T-shirts supporting the striker.

Ayre said in January 2012:

"It is important to us all here that nobody is left in any doubt as to where Liverpool Football Club stand on this. Such behaviour will not be tolerated."

Suarez was subject to a £40,000,001 bid from Arsenal in the summer, and was public on his desire to leave Anfield. Despite the public interest, Suarez has remained with Liverpool and is fully focussed on playing for the club, according to Ayre:

"[He] has responded well to ... work on his character."

The ex-Ajax frontman has had numerous disciplinary problems in the Premier League, as well as a number of incidents before his £22m move to Liverpool. He was previously punished while on duty for Uruguay for deliberately preventing a goal with his hand, and was given a seven match ban for biting an opponent while playing for Ajax.

Liverpool travel to managerless Sunderland on Sunday, with Suarez now available to start his first Premier League game since April.

Luis Suarez
Premier League

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