Luis Suarez damaged Liverpool brand

Liverpool’s managing director Ian Ayre admits Luis Suarez’s behaviour has damaged the club’s brand.

Ayre was speaking in the wake of Suarez’s return to action on Wednesday in Liverpool’s Capital One Cup defeat to Manchester United for his first competitive appearance for the Reds since he was handed a 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic.

In 2011, the controversial Uruguayan was handed an eight-match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra, actions that Ayre admits hurt the club’s reputation.

“It was damaging to the brand but this club is bigger than one player. Luis is a street fighter and we had to deal with it,” Ayre told reporters.

“We’ve worked a lot with him since the Ivanovic incident, and he’s back to what he’s best at – terrorizing defenders.”

While remaining positive about Suarez’s future at Anfield, Ayre insists that there are plans in place should any similar incidents occur.

“We all move on together. Hard work and lessons have been learnt post-Evra and we now have a process in place for any crisis. Not a Suarez crisis, just any one,” Ayre said.

To give Liverpool some credit, matters have definitely improved under the new manager and PR disasters appear to be a thing of the past. After Suarez took a chunk out of Ivanovic, there was no prospect of Brendan Rodgers sporting a ‘Luis is innocent’ t-shirt, similar to the one worn by his predecessor, Kenny Dalglish, when the striker was found guilty of racially abusing Evra.