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It was all glad handing and backslapping in the build-up, but after Chelsea ran out 2-1 winners against Champions League rivals Liverpool on Sunday, things took a bit of a nasty turn in old colleagues Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers relationship when the Portuguese manager accused Luis Suarez of taking a dive.
Suffice it to say that he’s not the first manager to do it and he certainly won’t be the last; as the Uruguayan tussled with Blues defender Cesar Azpilicueta near the edge of the area, Samuel Eto’o, who was involved in a potential red card situation with Jordan Henderson in the opening minutes of the match, tripped Suarez up from behind while nowhere near the ball. Despite the shouts for a clear penalty, referee Howard Webb took a differing view – one that Mourinho was quick to champion.
”Suarez lost that duel with Azpilicueta, Eto’o comes in and it looks like somebody shot him in the back,” fumed the Chelsea boss. ”For me that is a clear yellow card.” Funny how he makes no mention of what the Cameroonian international did to make the Liverpool striker hit the deck; that point, it would seem, has no bearing on what the pious Portuguese manager called was quick to call simulation.
His former pupil, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen on Mourinho’s memory of the matter, calling Suarez an “easy target” for criticism. It’s a reputation he may have fostered in the past, but there’s little doubt that the trip amounted to nothing less than a stonewall penalty. “I think it was a valid claim for penalty against a player who wasn’t making an attempt to play the ball” said the Liverpool boss, who continued, “It certainly was not an acrobatic dive. Everyone can see the decision making and I don’t want to go into it too much. The games are gone, we will not gain anything from them now.”