Brendan Rodgers believes Liverpool striker Luis Suarez is an “easy target” after he was accused of diving by Jose Mourinho on Sunday.
The Uruguay international went down in the penalty area late in his side’s 2-1 defeat at Chelsea on Sunday, claiming Samuel Eto’o had barged him in the back.
Chelsea manager Mourinho was incensed and claimed Suarez, the Premier League’s top scorer, should have been shown a yellow card by referee Howard Webb for an “acrobatic swimming pool jump”.
However, his Liverpool counterpart Rodgers has responded by launching a staunch defence of Suarez, insisting his side should have been awarded a penalty.
“It certainly wasn’t that (an acrobatic dive). Anyone seeing the game would surely have seen that, but Luis is the easy target, isn’t he?” the Northern Irishman said on Monday.
“We had a spell where everyone was jumping on his back, saying he was diving. He must be the only one who’s doing it.
“I thought it was a valid claim for a penalty against a player who wasn’t even making an effort for the football. It certainly wasn’t an acrobatic dive.”
Liverpool, who spent Christmas Day top of the Premier League, are now six points adrift of leaders Arsenal after successive defeats at Manchester City and Chelsea.
However, Rodgers is not dwelling on those losses and heads into the New Year’s Day clash with Hull City at Anfield with plenty of optimism.
“I don’t want to go into it too much, the games have gone. We don’t gain anything from them now, other than the pride I’ve felt with the players and what they’ve produced these last two games,” he added.
“The Manchester City performance was outstanding. Everyone makes mistakes. The officials have made mistakes and unfortunately we’ve been punished for them.
“We went into the game yesterday (Sunday) with a small squad against one of the biggest squads in Europe. We’ve had the game in the balance right to the very end.
“There were certainly decisions in that that could have gone for us on another day. But they’re gone now. My focus is merely on the last year and what has been an outstanding group of players that, from January onwards, have taken this team forward.
“We’ve ended 2013 and we will now begin again against Hull City. We’ll make the same effort in the coming year. If we can do that we’re going to be right up there.”