The last two incidents whereby Liverpool’s star-striker Luis Suarez bit another player on the pitch were the more embarrassing moments of my time as a Liverpool fan.
Suarez is currently the talk of the town since he bit Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini in Uruguay’s World Cup match against Italy two days ago. The uproar surrounding this third incident has filled both front and back-pages of newspapers around the world and left millions of people on social media criticising and laughing at Suarez for his inability to play the beautiful game without getting his teeth involved.
We’ve had our laughs and we’ve scrutinised him enough, but things have now taken a more serious turn as FIFA suspended Suarez for nine international matches and banned him for four months from any football-related activity or entrance into a football stadium. Not to mention the lad’s been fined £66,000, but then again, this is probably a little sum considering the money these players are paid…
Anyway, FIFA’s punishment for Suarez is of course quite disastrous news for him, but perhaps more so for Liverpool as we must now begin our come-back season this August without our main and most treasured striker. It might be far-fetched to say our hopes have been dented, but this is certainly what it feels like at the moment for me, especially when knowing that Suarez will miss the first 9 Premier League games of the 2014/2015 season and will also be absent from 3 of our Champions League matches. This may not seem like a massive loss, but considering that Liverpool missed out on winning the Premier League last season after sloppy mistakes and the smallest of incidents letting us down, I’d say we’re due to suffer a major set-back with Suarez away during the crucial opening of the season.
Why should I deny that this is depressing? This is our star-player who effectively thrown away everything that he and Liverpool worked for, only so he could get his teeth into Chiellini’s shoulder and then top it off with the most bizarre dive I have ever seen in my life. It’s saddening to think that Suarez has reverted back to the darker times where he bit Branislav Ivanovic and Ottman Bakkal – a time we thought we had erased in order to bring about reform and show the world Suarez’s success story.
Suarez may be a world-class goal-scoarer who was fully deserving of the PFA Player of the Year accolade at the end of the 2013/2014 Premier League season, and he may be a player with a real knack for handling the ball, showing pace and initiative and of course, scoring cracking goals, but Suarez is damaged goods, and there seems to be a disturbing problem with him that constantly hinders his promise of great football and works to destroy his goal-scoring heroism. Ex-Liverpool player Jamie Carragher, who played and worked alongside Suarez himself stated that he “has lost focus and, if I’m honest, I don’t believe he will change. He will always have that tendency to self-destruct”.
It’s that word that haunts me a little – ‘self-destruct’. Does it get too much for Suarez? Are we seeing a player who hits a high only to come crashing down, really, really badly? We must remember that before this biting incident, Suarez had scored two goals for Uruguay against England, given the British media and press a verbal lashing the day after and mentioned his goal-scoring and World Cup triumph to be like a slap-in-the-face for all those who had laughed about him in the past. Was the downward spiral in the game to follow expected, then? I suppose we can keep asking questions, but we’ll never really know the answer, right?
Wrong. We can create the memes, churn out the hilarious jokes and puns and bemoan Suarez, but we can’t forget that Suarez is inevitably human and so demands the same care and attention that anyone with issues both on and off the pitch may have. There are many Liverpool and non-Liverpool fans who believe that Brendan Rogers should sell Suarez and ensure that the club is rid of any association with him, but I believe this would be the wrong thing to do.
Suarez is undeniably an amazing football player who needs the right kind of guidance and help to stop the childish and predatory antics and focus on the job in hand – it would be wrong to sell him off to another team who would just put the time and effort Liverpool could and then reform him to bring their club success. Suarez is destined for great things in football, and to ban him from the sport completely and marginalise him in this way would be wrong – I don’t think the Liverpool ethos is to give up at all, let alone give up on our players, so I strongly believe that Suarez must remain and that the club must try their absolute best to get him on the right track and playing clean football.
Suarez deserves another chance and I fully believe he is in need of the punishment FIFA handed out to him. The four month ban on football-related activity and the time away from Liverpool is perhaps needed for a footballing hero like Suarez to truly reform and return back with a vengeance – and hopefully not the ‘I’m gonna bite you’ kind.