David Moyes has launched a scathing attack on Luis Suárez and placed the Liverpool striker among a select band of players he fears will drive fans away from the game by "conning their way to results".
The Everton manager claims to be genuinely concerned that Suárez could influence the Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Sunday through theatrics and not talent. Moyes's suspicion is based on the corresponding fixture last season when Jack Rodwell was sent off after 23 minutes for a clean tackle on the Uruguay international, who went on to seal Liverpool's 2-0 victory. "People talk about the sendings-off in these derbies [20 of them] without talking about the decisions," Moyes said. "Last year's one was a dive and a really poor decision by the referee. It ruined the game."
Asked if he fears a repeat in the 219th Merseyside derby, to be refereed by Andre Marriner, the Everton manager elaborated: "I do because I think he [Suárez] has got history. But I'm not the referee. What it will do is turn the supporters away from football because they [players who dive] are very good at it.
"It's a hard job for the referees, it really is, but it will turn supporters away from it if they think players are conning their way to results. People like to see things done correctly. Of course if the ball hits your hand you're going to claim for it and you're going to take every decision that you get going for you. But I don't think supporters like it when players are out to manufacture it."
Suárez has been at the centre of a diving controversy this season, as has Tottenham's Gareth Bale, with Tony Pulis calling for the Liverpool striker to be banned following an incident against Stoke. Jim Boyce, the vice-president of Fifa, joined the condemnation, but Brendan Rodgers has condemned the "vilification" of Suárez. The Liverpool manager expressed incredulity that the post-Stoke focus was on the Suárez dive and not Robert Huth stamping on the forward.
Moyes insists his criticism is "general" and not aimed specifically at Suárez. But he added: "I don't think there are many players out there who really do it. I don't think there is. But I would hope if I got one who did I would be big enough to say: 'Would you please stay on your feet and stop going down easy.' Supporters just don't like the thought of people going down easily. Everybody who has played football at any level would hate that in their game. People who play the game find it very hard to go along with."
The Everton manager was embroiled in similar controversy after signing Andrew Johnson but denies there is a comparison between the now QPR striker and Suárez. "Andy often got clipped because he got to the ball really quickly," he said.
Moyes also reiterated an appeal, one he first made after the 2006 World Cup, for the game's authorities to combat diving through retrospective punishment. "I'm of the view that retrospective viewing of diving should be more important than some of the technology they are talking about bringing in," he said. "I think it would make the referee's job an awful lot easier if that was there. If you do it and you get banned for it, it wouldn't take long before you cut it out.
"It wouldn't take much – four or five people on a panel: referees, players and managers. It could be easily done."