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Comment: Nobody bigger than Liverpool FC? Suarez proves it's all a lie


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Liverpool are once again in danger earning the contempt of the entire footballing world for their continued defence of Luis Suarez.

The fiery striker has received a 10 match ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in a 2-2 draw last Sunday. Suarez, who shouldn’t have been on the pitch, went on to score the equaliser.

The referee, however, didn’t spot the incident, meaning the FA were actually allowed to take retrospective action. They have obviously opted to do so in giving the striker the ban. Liverpool have until Friday to appeal the decision.

And it genuinely wouldn’t surprise me, based on the utter lunacy spouted by representatives of the club over the past week, if they do choose to appeal the decision.

Despite not having a leg to stand on, the club have whinged and whined about the FA’s decision. I’ll provide a swift recap of events since the bite, and with it, a look at Liverpool’s utter insanity. On Sunday night, after the game, Suarez promptly issued an apology, to Ivanovic and the whole footballing world. The club then fined him an unspecified amount on Monday, and Suarez asked for it to be donated to the Hillsborough Family Support Group. An offer for anger management counselling came in from the PFA; understandable considering that Suarez has form – in the last game he ever played for Ajax, Suarez bit PSV player Ottman Bakkal, resulting in a seven match ban and being ousted from the club. Liverpool, however, came out and said that the player’s future at the club was not in any doubt.

All fairly expected so far. Then, as he accepts a charge of violent conduct and despite his seemingly humble apology, Suarez insists the incident doesn’t deserve anything more than the standard three match ban. Once the 10 match ban was revealed, Liverpool issued a statement saying that the club were shocked and disappointed by the length of it. Today, Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina has claimed that the ban is “absurd and unfair”, and moreover, that it is only so severe because Suarez is Uruguayan.

Reina also mentions Suarez’s “previous episode” (of biting someone on a football pitch) but thinks that the ban would have been far less if the player was English. Also today, manager Brendan Rodgers has claimed that the FA is victimising Suarez, saying that the ban is “against the man rather than the incident.”

If you haven’t found yourself shaking your head in disbelief at some point over the past two paragraphs, I’m honestly surprised.

Let’s try and clear this up. Suarez bit someone. More importantly, he bit them with no provocation whatsoever – Ivanovic had done absolutely nothing to Suarez over the course of the entire game. It was savage, unprovoked and bordering on slightly deranged.

Rodgers’ claim that the punishment is against the man rather than the incident is correct – to an extent. But when you consider that the man in question is steadily making Mario Balotelli look like a wet fish, you can understand why. Handballs, diving, punching, biting... Suarez is, frankly, out of control, and his club refuse to do anything to bring him in line. The FA has to.

Liverpool’s blind loyalty to their loose cannon is becoming disturbingly reminiscent of their attitude to Suarez’s worst incident at the club – receiving an eight match ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra. Through the entire, drawn-out process, the club and their manager, Kenny Dalglish, offered unconditional support to the player, going so far as to warm up for a match wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his name and face. None of that stopped the FA finding Suarez guilty, however, and Liverpool, despite their continued insistence that they stood by the player and his innocence, chose not to appeal the decision.

18 months later and Liverpool are doing almost exactly the same thing. Insisting that Suarez will remain at the club. Labelling the FA’s ban shocking and grossly unfair. Refusing to discipline the player internally beyond a minor fine.

The truth is, Liverpool can’t afford to lose Suarez. Before Robin Van Persie’s sensational hattrick against Aston Villa he was the Premier League’s top goalscorer, and Rodgers said in January that he was building a football team that would “play around Suarez”. He’s implemental to the club’s plans for the future. Yet for all his talent, Suarez is one of the most temperamental figures in world football, and at times seems beyond anyone’s control.

“Nobody is bigger than Liverpool FC”, said Rodgers earlier this week. Unfortunately, the behaviour of Suarez, the club and Rodgers himself are proving him a liar. 

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