Liverpool players support Luis Suarez after FA race verdict

Luis Suarez's Liverpool team-mates have issued a statement  in "total support" of the striker.

Suarez was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 by the Football Association for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at Anfield on 15 October .

Liverpool players also warmed up for Wednesday night's game at Wigan wearing T-shirts in support of Suarez.

They said they were "shocked and angered" at the FA verdict.

"We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that," the statement continued. "We know he is not racist.

There must have been a temptation to throw the book at Suarez and send a strong anti-racist message to the world. From a South American perspective, the length of the ban might be taken to indicate that this is what the disciplinary board has done

Tim Vickery South American football expert

"We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognise the way he has been portrayed.

"We will continue to support Luis through this difficult period, and, as a popular and respected friend of all his team-mates, he will not walk alone."

Liverpool players, including Suarez, warmed up for Wednesday's Premier League game at the DW Stadium wearing T-shirts featuring a picture of the Uruguayan on the front and his name and number seven on the back.

Following his side's 0-0 draw at Wigan , Reds manager Kenny Dalglish reiterated his view that the club will back Suarez.

"We have said we will always support him - and we will," he said.

"That is not just the people at the football club, it's the people who the football club means something to.

"They know that Luis Suarez means a great deal to them and he has got mutual respect for the fans.

"There is a fantastic relationship there and nothing will break it."

Suarez was given a rough ride by sections of the crowd inside the DW Stadium at times, angering Dalglish.

The Scot added: "It's all very well and good to tell players to control themselves, the FA better start controlling crowds."

Dalglish defiant on Suarez support

Suarez, who denied the allegations , has 14 days to appeal against the decision after a six-day FA hearing found he used "insulting words", which included a reference to Evra's colour.

Viv Anderson, the first black player to represent England, admitted Suarez's case was a complicated one.

"If somebody said something that, in their culture, isn't as bad as we take it to be, you have to allow for that," he told BBC North West Tonight.

Uruguay captain Diego Lugano has already backed Suarez.

"I can't believe it. They're making a big mistake," Lugano said.

"Luis is a victim. I can't understand how a player like Evra can do this. He is breaking the codes of football.

"We all know what kind of person Luis is and the values he has," added Paris St Germain defender Lugano on his personal website.

"It's obvious that in England there's a racism problem they're trying to eradicate. That's good but this sentence has no solid arguments."

Suarez, who has won 54 caps for his country, enjoyed success with Uruguay in the summer, scoring in the final as they won the 2011 Copa America .

The Uruguayan Embassy has declined to comment on Suarez's punishment and said they wanted "no involvement" in what they described as a "private matter".

In November, Brighton manager and former Uruguay international Gus Poyet came out in support of his fellow countryman , saying Suarez was "100% not a racist".

Poyet told talkSPORT  : "England needs to understand how the rest of the world lives. If we have that understanding, easy."