Kenny still insists striker's ban unfair as United clash looms
LIVERPOOL manager Kenny Dalglish had nothing but praise for the competitive spirit of Luis Suarez as the striker again found his way into the headlines on his return from an eight-match suspension.
The Uruguay international came off the bench for the final 24 minutes of the goalless draw at home to Tottenham, his first appearance since St Stephen’s Day.
He immediately enhanced his reputation for having a propensity for getting into scrapes as his attempted volley caught Scott Parker in the stomach and could easily have earned him more than the yellow card he received from referee Michael Oliver.
But Dalglish, who has stoutly defended his player even after he was found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United's Patrice Evra, saw only the positives from his striker's cameo appearance.
“For me, Luis Suarez doesn't have anything to prove to anyone at Liverpool FC,” said the Scot. “Every game he plays he is determined to make an impact. He is just that kind of person.
“When you see him getting on the ball, you always think he is going to do something that will be beneficial to the team. Other than that, I don't know what else I can say.”
But it was what else Dalglish did say, with a trip to Old Trafford at
the weekend, which threatened to re-ignite the row over Suarez's punishment.
“We don't think he should ever have been away but we are delighted to get him back,” he added. “We are looking forward to working with him. He has had half an hour and that will have done him the world of good – it is better than anything we could have done at Melwood.”
In a match low on clear-cut chances the best fell to Gareth Bale late in the game when he was put through with only goalkeeper Jose Reina to beat only for the Spain international to save well.
Suarez had a close-range header and fellow striker Andy Carroll a couple of chances to clinch the |victory, but their failure to do so consigned Liverpool to an eighth draw in 12 home league matches.
Tottenham, who were without manager Harry Redknapp after technical problems scuppered his chances of catching a plane to |the match after another day at |Southwark Crown Court for his trial into charges of cheating the public revenue, which he denies, would have left Anfield the happier.
In the manager's absence, assistant Kevin Bond took charge and credited his players with a steely side which has not always been evident this season.
“It was a resilient performance. We are noted this season for the manner in which we play, our free-flowing football, which is lovely,” he said.
“But we weren't able to do that as well as we would have liked. It was a different type of display from us.
“We got a point in a different way. We had to defend well and battle. All the lads did really well. It looked like we had the best chance anyway but credit to the goalkeeper, he made it very difficult for Gareth. Overall we were really pleased with the manner in which we approached the game and applied ourselves.”