Luis Suarez: The New Hero of Liverpool or a Despicable Villain of Football?
After the extraordinary incident involving Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday at Afield, Damien Kelly looks at whether it’s time to sell the striker.
Sunday 21st April 2013 will live long in the memories of football fans across the world. We as fans love the game for its wonderful unpredictability, for its highs and lows. Because whatever good thing or bad thing happens, it provides conversation, argument and debate in the school yard, the office, the pub and anywhere we meet our fellow fans. We live for the moments that we don’t expect, whether it’s Aguero scoring that last minute goal to win the league or Suarez inexplicably biting a fellow professional.
However, for Liverpool FC, how this issue is dealt with is of huge importance to the club itself. There are two forces which will decide what punishment Suarez serves; the club and the FA. The latter will undoubtedly charge Suarez and hand the player a lengthy ban. It would take a brave individual to stand up and argue against the righteousness of a ban; Suarez’s actions were unprofessional and animalistic, to put it mildly. Interestingly, having been banned for 8 games after the FA charged Suarez for racially abusing Patrice Evra, the ban is likely to be less than this. The FA would portray itself poorly if they charged Suarez for more than 8 games, putting biting on a more grave level than racism, which it isn’t.
Liverpool have already released statements condemning his actions and have handed him an unspecified fine. What they chose not to do was suspend or ban Suarez. It would not have been a huge surprise if they had, especially looking at it from a PR perspective, as it would certainly be beneficial for the club to stand up against such disgusting behaviour.
However, this incident has come on the brink of a transfer window which will determine whether Suarez is to stay at Liverpool or to move on to greener pastures. Suarez stated just this weekend his intention to stay, Ian Ayre last week claimed Liverpool had no interest in selling Suarez. But after yet another troublesome incident, is time to put an end to his antics and cash in? Would Liverpool benefit more from some peace and quiet and a cool 40 million pounds to replace him?
If you look at Suarez’s misdemeanours, you would think yes; it is a no brainer. But look at the influence this man has become, the undeniable brilliance that Suarez displays, can the club afford to let Suarez leave? By the time the 70 minute mark came yesterday, Luis Suarez had given away a stupid penalty and bitten a fellow professional. If 99% of players in world football had done such things in a game, any manager worth his salt would substitute the said player without a second thought, pat him on the back and say ‘You’ve had a bad day here son’. Not so with Suarez.
This is a man who never gives up, this is a man who gives his all for Liverpool. Much is made of English clubs lacking homegrown, passionate players, the likes of Gerrard, Carragher, Giggs and Scholes are becoming a rare treasure in this day and age. When you have a player like Luis Suarez in your team, that argument falls down. Suarez gives exactly what Gerrard and Carragher give to the club, passion, fire and an understanding shared with the fans; that winning is everything. In the 96th minute, Luis Suarez rescued Liverpool through sheer will and desire.
This is not the single worst act carried out by a premier league player. Eric Cantona kicked a fan, Roy Keane went out on a football pitch solely to assault Alfe Inge Haaland, Mario Balotelli and Emannuel Adebayor among others have brutally tackled opposing players, even Jermaine Defoe dug his teeth into Javier Mascherano. The difference with Suarez is that while some of the aforementioned players are considered ‘feisty’or ‘hard’, Suarez has already gained the reputation of a thug and a cheat. If Jordan Henderson or Stewart Downing decided to have a bite of Ivanovic’s arm, the matter would be forgotten in time. This will not be forgotten, this is one of the greatest players in world football and one of the most infamous men in that same category.
As fans, we can love him or hate him. For Liverpool FC, it is time to decide. Do they accept this flawed hero and risk future trouble he may cause, hoping he will only hit the headlines for his magnificent talent? Or do they consider Suarez a black mark on the great name of Liverpool Football Club and sell up? Brendan Rodgers reacted to the incident stating that ‘Every player is replaceable’. This has been said by many a manager at many a club but this theory could face its greatest test in the very near future; for Luis Suarez could be the difference between Liverpool succeeding and failing in their bid to return to glory.
What do Liverpool fans think? Is it time to cash-in or should the club stick by Suarez? Get involved in the comments section below.
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