Suarez hands Reds cup victory

Julian Harris
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LIVERPOOL boss Brendan Rodgers last night stuck by his controversial forward Luis Suarez, despite admitting that the Uruguayan handled the ball for a goal that knocked non-league Mansfield out of the FA Cup.

New signing Daniel Sturridge gave the Reds an early lead, but a second goal only came on the hour mark when Suarez appeared to control a deflected ball with his right hand to score from close range. With Matt Green netting for the home side in the 79th minute, Suarez’s goal proved crucial.

“It’s not Luis’ job to do that,” Rodgers said when asked if Suarez should have owned up to the offence in question.

“There is no doubt it was handball but the officials have seen it was not deliberate. I asked the fourth official if it was handball and he said it was. It is unfortunate for Mansfield and lucky for us we got the goal.”

Liverpool, who will play Oldham in the fourth round, burst out of the traps at the start of the game, and were soon ahead.

On seven minutes Jonjo Shelvey played a slide-rule pass and debutant Sturridge, a £12m arrival from Chelsea last week, curled a simple shot inside the far post.

The England striker was withdrawn for Suarez 10 minutes after the break, the substitute scoring his debatable goal – his 19th strike of the season – within five minutes of coming on.

A close range effort from Green gave Mansfield hope, but the Stags could not find an equaliser despite pressing hard until the final whistle.