Liverpool: Brendan Rodgers Backs Luis Suarez over Controversial Handball Call

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Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has backed striker Luis Suarez following his controversial goal against Mansfield in the FA Cup.

Uruguayan international Suarez scored the winning goal in Liverpool's recent 2-1 victory over Mansfield in the Cup, but came under a cloud of controversy when he appeared to deliberately use his hand in the process of scoring the goal.

Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford said after the game that the result was "stolen from us," while manager Paul Cox went as far to say that the match proved technology was needed to stop officials from getting results so wrong (per The Daily Mirror).

Suarez's actions in the goal caused many to dub him as a "cheat"—a tag that has seemingly stuck on him so far in the 2012/13 season for Liverpool.

Yet manager Brendan Rodgers once again stood by his star striker, stating that his player had not committed a foul and that there was no error. 

Per ESPN (h/t BBC Sport):

It's not been deliberate as it's pushed up and hit his hand.

It's up to the officials to decide that. There's no doubt it was handball, but the referee and the officials ruled it wasn't deliberate. 

I spoke to the fourth official when it was given because I couldn't see and he said it was [handball] so I can only assume they thought it wasn't deliberate. So obviously it was unfortunate for Mansfield and lucky for us that we got the goal.

The Reds' manager also added when asked whether Suarez should have owned up to the handball, "it's not Luis' job to do that"—a point that must also be heavily considered in any discussions as to who was at fault in the goal.

Anyone who watches the replays above will see that it's a handball. The ball hits Suarez's hand, he beats the goalkeeper and then finishes it into the net.

It should have been handball and no goal. But it wasn't.

However, once the goal is awarded—a goal which Suarez did not wildly celebrate, mind you—then the onus is instantly off Suarez and on to the officials. If they say that the action was not deliberate and that the goal should stand, any blame and misdirection should flow towards them, not on to the 25-year-old.

Rodgers is completely right to stand up for Suarez, as is Bleacher Report's Neri Stein, who wrote following the match on the incident:

A defender isn't going to say, "Hey, I was pulling his jersey on that corner. You should give them a penalty." That's why we have officials in the first place. They make sure the rules are followed, and every now and then (OK, maybe more often than not), they miss something.

Bottom line, Suarez didn't cheat Mansfield out of extending their FA Cup run—the officials did. But no one is vilifying them. 

The handball, once awarded as accidental, is completely out of the hands of Suarez. We're not talking a Hand of God moment, either; we're talking a split-second bump that happened to fall the way of the Liverpool striker. To hold him accountable for that is simply ridiculous.

Rodgers is right to stick up for Suarez, for he has done nothing wrong.

As Mansfield town manager Paul Cox said following the match, "I can't fault him [Suarez] for doing something that 99 out of 100 strikers would do."

Finally. Someone who didn't just #BlameSuarez.

Is the media fixated on blaming Luis Suarez at every possible chance?

Comment below or hit me up on Twitter:  

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