Liverpool: Luis Suarez Could Have Spit Roasted Chelsea's Frank Lampard For All I Care
He did it again, the little scamp. Despite scoring a dramatic last gasp equaliser for Liverpool against Chelsea, Luis Suarez ended up in the headlines for all the wrong reasons after biting Branislav Ivanovic during the second half of the game. Yes, read that again; a grown man lightly nibbled on the arm of another grown man on camera in front of millions of people around the world. In the aftermath of the incident social media has gone in to meltdown, and, quite frankly, the Uruguayan forward is just lucky that the FA abolished the death penalty years ago along with their ability to competently run a football governing body.
It’s important, I suppose, to unequivocally clarify before I carry on that I in no way condone what Suarez did; it was indefensible, and he let his club down. He’ll get the book thrown at him, be given a lengthy ban and a hefty fine – and he’ll deserve it all. However, I’m not going to lie, once I let what happened process I thought it was hilarious, mainly because of how ludicrous the act itself is. Those of you who play even at amateur level know if you’ve got a beef with an opposition player, you manipulate the rules to gain an advantage. A bit of shirt pulling and trash talking? Fine. If he leaves his foot in or gets a sly elbow on you, you get him back. But you’d never once think of biting him.
Why, then, if I agree that what he did was demented and unfathomable, should I feel the need to defend Suarez? Simply put, he’s too good not to. He is the only bonafide world class player Liverpool have and without him we’d be up s**t creek without a paddle. I have absolutely no problem in admitting that I prioritise his footballing talents above his transgressions on the pitch, and I certainly don’t want to see him leave. If he was an ineffective squad player would I be quite as forgiving? Probably not, I imagine I’d get on my high horse and demand that we sell him, and pretend that football is no longer a continuing soap opera with each club competing for the ratings. But he’s a brilliant footballer, so I don’t really care.
This is the second time in his career that he has bitten an opposing player. Just read that again; it is not his first offence. Suarez is, quite clearly, proper crazy, but somehow that just makes him all the more endearing; he’s a mental, maniacal, Machiavellian madman. I’d be gutted if he left, but I certainly wouldn’t begrudge him a move; he deserves to be playing on the biggest stage every season, and we can’t offer him that. If we were to sell Suarez – and I can’t help but shake the feeling that FSG would love to do exactly that this summer and be rid of him and his baggage whilst using the transfer fee to finance this summer’s transfers - it’ll be years before we ever see a player of similar quality don a Liverpool shirt again.
In the aftermath of the incident, my main thought was that I hoped that this latest scandal would put off any potential suitors from making a summer bid, so the reports from Germany that Bayern Munich are close to sealing a €37m move for Dortmund’s Mario Gotze, as much as I admire BVB and enjoy watching them play is, music to my ears. Hopefully Spain’s big two decide that he’s not worth a trouble, which would probably only leave the oil rich Eastern European clubs as interested parties who could afford him, and I doubt he’d fancy a move out to Ukraine or Russia.
And the suggestion of him seeking anger management can sod right off, too. I don’t want him to suddenly change who is on the pitch, I just want him to not break the rules so clearly. I love that he’s a moody little swine with a fiery temper who gets wound up when things aren’t going his way and we’re not winning. Fans love to claim footballers don’t give a monkey's, and more often than not they don’t, so when someone as passionate as him comes along, especially in an underachieving side like Liverpool, we should embrace it. I’d rather him stay the way he is than become soft; he’s a flawed, deranged genius, simple as.
Do I care how it affects the club’s imagine? Somewhat, yeah, but then again, we’re tenuously clinging to the top six and face a strong challenge to stay relevant on the global scale without Champions League football, so who’s going to be talking about Liverpool anyway if we don’t get back in to the top four? And if Suarez was to leave, so would any chance of us getting back amongst Europe’s elite for the foreseeable future. This is the ultimate moral conundrum, but then again, this is modern football we’re talking about; morals haven’t been relevant since eighties.
Again, I’m not defending his actions, but I find the witch hunt in the fallout of all of this absolutely ridiculous. The hysterical hyperbole is to be expected, but sorry, I don’t buy in to all the faux moral outrage and the self-righteousness from every Tom, Dick and David Cameron. The reaction of opposition fans is to be expected: football fans are biased, and they’re hypocrites; both traits are prerequisites to being a modern day supporter. Am I any different? Nope, not at all. But everyone has given their tuppence worth, from the same old bigots in the press to irrelevant minor celebrities trying to stay in the public eye. Most of these people don’t really care what Suarez did, they just see it as an opportunity to get some free publicity.
Sky Sports News have had anyone and everyone with a fully functioning larynx spouting their agenda ridden nonsense over the past 36 hours, whilst phone ins have been full of people claiming that somehow Suarez’s actions have meant that kids now think it’s acceptable to bite each other. Then there was a piece in the Daily Fail yesterday - which I won’t link to as it was a nothing article with an incendiary headline aimed at riling Liverpool fans and getting hits - titled "Tyson was fined £2m and banned for life for his bite on Holyfield... Suarez deserves more." Yes, because a little nibble that left no visible mark is much worse than biting part of someone’s ear off. Typically sound logic from the Mail, there.
Ultimately, a bit of context is all I’m asking for. He has been rightly charged with violent conduct, so the punishment should be proportionate to the severity of the ‘violence’ - but to claim that these are exceptional circumstances for an offence which never caused any actual physical harm quite clearly contradicts that. Is a head-butt, punch, elbow or a crunching, leg-breaking tackle less serious or violent than a bite? How anyone can think this is any worse than the litany of off-the-ball incidents where retrospective action has been over recent seasons is simply beyond me.
People love a witch hunt, and Luis Suarez is public enemy number one. If this were not Suarez we were talking about, nobody would care. Granted, the public opinion of Luis has been cultivated largely by a history of unsavoury behaviour on the pitch. But even if Suarez had made a legitimate challenge for the ball and accidentally broken Ivanovic’s leg, you can bet your life there would’ve still been the public outrage that there has been. I have no problem with people hating him – I’d imagine I would do the same if he played for one of our rivals – but it doesn’t mean we should lose perspective of this incident.
Unfortunately, as with any controversy, partisanship again rears its ugly head. As farcical as some of the spiel from other fans has been, some Liverpool fans refuse to acknowledge he has done anything wrong, or claim that he deserves a ban as Defoe only got booked for doing the same thing. To me, it doesn’t matter if the referee saw the incident or not, how the FA can continue to hide behind a ridiculous rule not allowing them to act if the officials have seen the incident, claiming they’re afraid of undermining referees is beyond me. If players know that there is the chance of them getting banned and fined after the game once any incidents have been analysed, we’d see much less of these incidents. Until then, players will continue to get away with murde....best not encourage Luis to push his luck anymore!
Football, by and large, is run by idiots and played by idiots. Most of them don’t care that they’re role models; they do not strive to be paragons of virtue. They won’t be poster boys telling kids to eat their greens and work hard in school. Once they get consumed by fame and money, they often lose sight of the responsibility they have to the younger fans who idolise them. There are exceptions to the rule, but the headlines are perpetually dominated by some sort of scandal involving a high profile player. It’s the reason why Lionel Messi is widely lauded for being a humble, affable individual whilst also being supremely talented, instead of being a menstrual primadonna as Cristiano Ronaldo is regarded. Messi’s attitude is not the norm; it is the exception to the rule.
Suarez is a ****, but he’s a talented, world-class ****. He’s our ****. And football needs him.