Is stupid Suarez worth the hassle? Well, yes (@Mark_Jones86)
You didn’t think he’d let the season end without hitting the headlines again did you?
A campaign which featured him admitting diving in an attempt to win a penalty against Stoke and an FA Cup goal against Mansfield scored with the aid of his hand represented a pretty quiet one for Luis Suarez. There was always going to be more to come.
When it arrived though, it was as shocking to witness as anything that has gone on before in the Premier League.
His bite on Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday’s meeting between Liverpool and Chelsea was always going to provoke the kind of outrage which the Uruguayan seems to specialise in. The moment Suarez opened his mouth millions of fingers began tapping at millions of keyboards worldwide.
Regardless of that, it was a stupid, bizarre and downright unacceptable act.
Suarez was wrong, which he has since admitted. His club – a club who finally seem to have the people in place to deal with the fallout from one of their star forward’s brain freezes – have made all the right noises so far. Manager Brendan Rodgers and managing director Ian Ayre spoke quickly and correctly.
That isn’t enough to appease the masses though. Nothing short of Liverpool firing Suarez out of a cannon and into the River Mersey was going to do that.
There have been shrill, breathless calls to sack the forward from all quarters, but such a belief is backward.
Suarez is Liverpool’s key asset. His 30 goals this season – a season which is now surely over for him – have transformed what is still very much a team in transition into one capable of troubling the elite. Why would any club want to get rid of their best player? You can rest assured that each and every football club would make the same decision that Liverpool have. Yes, even yours.
The sense of tribalism, morality tales and finger pointing that exists in football means that your rival is always there to be judged. Referees can be pushed over, fans and ballboys can be kicked and players can be bitten but does that ever lead to sackings? No, it just leads to disapproving tut-tutting from supporters and a lingering sense that their club would do things differently. They wouldn’t.
Blame the current football climate if you want, but it has almost reached a stage that the only thing a modern club cannot afford to have is values.
Were Liverpool to sack or actively look to sell Suarez then what happens then? Well another club buys him obviously. He becomes someone else’s problem.
But when that problem is so crucial, so vital and so integral to each and every thing that you do, what then?
Liverpool had already put their neck on the line for Suarez once too often before the incident on Sunday, and so now he has to put his neck on the line for them.
He needs to prove that he can be just as effective a player without this devilment that infiltrates his character.
That may take time, but he’s likely to be offered that time and the help he needs by a club who simply can’t afford to see a £22.8m investment leave whilst they battle to rejoin the elite of the world game.
Liverpool knew about his character flaws – they signed him from Ajax whilst he was still serving a ban for biting PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal in 2010 – and so it would be pretty hypocritical of the club to distance themselves from Suarez now.
You only need to have a limited knowledge of football to know that they were never going to do that anyway of course, he is far too important and far too influential for that.
He is not though, as Rodgers made clear, ‘bigger than the club.’
It is high time that Suarez started to think along those lines too.
Just thinking at all would be a good start.