Luis Suarez has hit the headlines again; the handball against Mansfield securing a 1-2 win for the Redmen, progression in the cup assured, and the chance for Liverpool to keep the hope of getting some valuable experience by trying to put the disappointment of last year’s FA Cup final behind them.
A trophy, especially the FA Cup would be a brilliant piece of experience in the early stages of the Rodgers revolution.
Think what you like about Suarez; he’s a genius on the football pitch. He’s a brilliant playmaker as well as a goal scorer. Defenders struggle with Suarez one on one, unless there’s 3 centre-backs closing him down – even then the chances are the defender will be duly nut-megged; it’s then between Suarez & the keeper. He’s already being hailed as potentially the winner of goal of the season. Depending on form in the coming months he may even win the golden boot, although he’ll face tough competition from the unbelievable RVP.
Let’s be clear, every Liverpool fan will want the Redmen to win fairly. We want our team to be known for our sheer quality both on the pitch and off it. But we do want to succeed, and sometimes that means making the most of your opportunities when it comes.
Yet in ‘elite’ sport, we’re very selective about who we criticize and why. I’ve been guilty of it myself when Gareth Bale dived against Scotland turning the game on its head – needless to say I was angry.
Yet in the Olympic Games this year Philip Hindes admitted to deliberately falling off his bike in order to compensate for a bad start. It created some general interest in the news, but as it was Chris Hoye who got his gold in London; it was OK for him to do that.
Or when Paul Scholes made a spectacular save worthy of a goal keeper against Fulham a few years back, he saw red. He did it again in the European Super Cup and again saw red. Yet he’s known as one of the best in his generation with United fans giving him the nickname ‘the master’. Gary Neville openly admits that football is, at the top level ‘a battle which must be won at all costs’. If you get a chance, you take it. It’s no surprise to hear this philosophy from two of the most successful footballers in the country – think what you like about Manchester United, they win at all costs and sometimes it’s not nice.
Success is sometimes being ruthless and other times sheer luck. Joe Jordan, playing for Scotland at Anfield against Wales in 1977 famously punched the ball into the net sending Scotland into the World Cup and leaving Wales out in the cold. Even Geoff Hurst’s goal that never was in the 1966 World Cup final, he went off and celebrated knowing full well he didn’t score; yet the goal was given and England lifted the cup.
Manchester City were recently criticized for putting the advertising boards closer to the touchline to prevent teams like Stoke and Sunderland from throwing the long ball into the box. What’s the difference between that and cricket grounds-man building a wicket which will better suit the home side?
With Luis, he’s a born winner. He wants to succeed at Liverpool, but more than that he wants Liverpool to succeed. He’s very happy on Merseyside, and he clearly loves the club, but he knows he has to sometimes drag the team up. As Steven Gerrard put it: “Luis is a warrior, he’s like this every day”.
The case is slightly different this time due to the fact he didn’t actually cheat – most pundits are in agreement that the ball deflected back off his hand and went into the goal. It just shows what can happen. He kicks the ball into the goal convinced the referee will rule the goal out and doesn’t celebrate the goal. Yet when offered one, why should he turn the goal down when he’s offered it? Surely now that means every defender that handles the ball will have to declare that to the referee?
Liverpool will need more than skill, quality & character in order to succeed going forward; they’ll need to take advantage of the situations that come their way!
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