Liverpool admit Luis Suarez incident has been damaging, as Kenny Dalglish insists club will never tolerate racism

Liverpool admit Suarez incident has been damaging, as Dalglish insists club will never tolerate racism

Liverpool have admitted for the first
time that the club's handling of the Luis Suarez racism case has left
them with an image problem.

'The perception of how we are or have
been over the past few weeks is not how we want it,' Ian Ayre, the
club's managing director, told the BBC.

'It has been a difficult time for
everyone at the club. The key for us is that this club want to fight
racism and discrimination.'

Out of contention: Luis Suarez watches from the stands

Out of contention: Luis Suarez watches from the stands

Liverpool aggressively defended their striker as he sought to clear his name of accusations that he racially abused Manchester United's Patrice Evra.

Before the verdict, the Anfield club also took swipes at the Football Association and sent out their players to warm up for a match wearing T-shirts bearing Suarez's picture.

A disciplinary hearing concluded that Suarez had 'used insulting words which included a reference to Mr Evra's colour'.

Insulting: Luis Suarez was found guilty by the FA

Insulting: Luis Suarez was found guilty by the FA

As a result, Suarez was banned for eight matches and fined 40,000, punishments Liverpool decided not to appeal.

'It has been a difficult period but we will get through it,' said Ayre, who also admitted that Suarez is likely to be abused by opposition.crowds when he returns to action next month.

'It will be tough, we shouldn't kid ourselves that opposing fans are going to give him the best of times. We made a decision, Luis made a decision, not to appeal and the reason we did that was to move on.

'The best way he can come back is to get on the pitch and score some goals, and that's what everyone will expect of him.'

Liverpool's problems did not end with Suarez.

Last week there was also an incident in their FA Cup victory at home to Oldham when visiting defender Tom Adeyemi alleged that he had been racially abused by a fan.

Kick it out: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish insists the club will not tolerate racism

Kick it out: Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish insists the club will not tolerate racism

A 20-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of a racially aggravated public order offence and later released on bail pending further inquiries. Stoke fans at yesterday's 0-0 draw at Anfield aimed chants of 'racist bastards' at the home support but the Liverpool supporters did not respond and there was no negative behaviour on their part.

Liverpool's manager, Kenny Dalglish, insisted yesterday that the club 'will not tolerate' racism and discrimination.

Of
the Adeyemi case, he wrote in his programme notes: 'Whatever the
outcome of that investigation, we are deeply sorry for what happened.

'We
do not want and will not tolerate racism or discrimination anywhere
near football, and certainly not anywhere near this football club. The
club is blessed with a worldwide fan base, made up of different
nationalities and diverse cultures, all of whom come together as part of
the Liverpool family.

'The club will continue its proud record of fighting all forms of discrimination.

'Past, present or future, it has no place at Anfield, in our club or in the game.

'We will give any help we can to Tom, Oldham Athletic and the police to ensure this incident is dealt with properly.'

Abused: Oldham's Tom Adeyemi reacts after being insulted by fans against Liverpool

Abused: Oldham's Tom Adeyemi reacts after being insulted by fans against Liverpool

Liverpool's captain, Steven Gerrard, echoed the sentiments of his manager, adding in his programme notes: 'Such incidents have no place in society, in football or at LFC.

'As a football club we have always supported anti-racism initiatives and our fans are well-known for their sporting nature and good humour.

'Any other type of behaviour will not be tolerated.'