Liverpool manager Brendan Rogers has again had to defend his in-form striker after his side’s second goal was marred by controversy when the ball deflected into the Uraguayan’s right hand before he slotted what would ultimately be the deciding goal against the lowly Blue Square Bet Premier competition side.

There’s no dispute about whether the ball hit Suarez’s hand, but whether he intentionally played at the ball.

Regardless, the star striker’s 19th goal of the season stood.

Rogers said, “It’s not his job to own up,” after the home side chanted “cheat”. Suarez’s laughing was a bad look.

“When you see Luis Suárez laughing as he kicks the ball across the line … he knows himself what happened,” said Mansfield goalkeeper Alan Marriott. “Even [Liverpool midfielder] Stewart Downing said to us that he couldn’t believe professional officials missed that. When it turns out to be the decisive goal, it’s a sickener for everyone.”

Mansfield Town manager Paul Cox was diplomatic about the incident but disappointed his club won’t get the massive injection to their coffers that a replay at Anfield would have yielded.

“I don’t want to be too hard to him because he’s a fantastic player and it was instinctive but look at the reaction of all the other players,” Cox said.

“Ours all ran to the referee shouting handball while Suárez blasts the ball into the net in a way that says: ‘Yeah, I handled it and the ref’s going to rule it out.’ I’m a little bit gutted because I think we warranted something out of the second half.”

Cox admitted he would have happily taken a goal in the same circumstances.

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