FOLLOWING the game versus Stoke, it was hardly surprising that Tony Pulis attempted to divert the media’s attentions away from his Stoke team’s hockey-esque tactics by calling for Suarez to be banned for diving – the sad thing is, it actually worked.
With Luis’s reputation tarnished to the extent it currently is, I will not be the least surprised to see Ferguson, Moyes and many others revert to these tactics over the coming nine months. In fact, it has now become so laughable, the treatment he receives from opposition players and referees that Twitter is now full of OTT #blameSuarez memes.
Now, I will tell anybody, whether a Red or not, that Suarez’s diving is something that is really going to have to be stamped out [Editor: Excuse the pun, eh David?], but he can’t be blamed for his treatment at the hands of other teams and players, and that’s precisely why I was so disappointed by a number of ex-Reds who happily came out of the woodwork to give their ‘expert’ former LFC player opinions on him and his ‘antics’.
The following Monday, Alan Hansen, Jan Molby and Roger Hunt (amongst others), voiced their disdain at Suarez and his love for Olympic grade diving. With all of these legends suggesting that Suarez’s diving is costing Liverpool penalty-kicks and, subsequently, points in the league.
I find it a complete marvel that these former footballers miss the point that, while Suarez should be considered a diver and, yes, even go as far to say that he attempts (I say ‘attempts’, as he’s rarely successful) to cheat, referees cannot be excused from their bias and poor refereeing while they are persistently basing their decisions on his reputation. His reputation should not precede him; each instance should be adjudged on the evidence at hand.
While it doesn’t surprise me that this is happening, nor that other managers and players are using it to their advantage, it is exceptionally disappointing that the likes of Hansen and Hunt are undermining both the manager and the player, particularly after Rodgers has only recently made some rather eloquent comments regarding Suarez’s treatment. What we need at the moment is solidarity from everybody associated with – or deemed to represent – Liverpool FC. Any criticism of players or any staff members should always be allowed, when warranted, but it should be kept behind the doors of Anfield and when a cheque was waved in front of these former Reds for their opinions, they should’ve turned it down.
It is a great concern for Liverpool at the moment that Suarez might well be hounded out of Anfield by the media and their determination to make him footballs equivalent of Judas Iscariot, because all it serves to do is continue to make him something of a martyr to Liverpool fans’ collective eyes. We can all appreciate his faults but he is no worse (nor better) than the likes of Torres, Welbeck, Van Persie or any other well-known, often maligned Premier League forwards who appreciate a good tumble in the opposition box. So when former Reds with such respect and standing in the game actively speak out against a current player, it doesn’t help matters and in fact, will only make what should be a future LFC legend feel like his career may need to continue away from these shores.
If Suarez should ever leave the Premier League, the only losers would be his current side and the league itself, which would both be a lot poorer for his loss.
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