Liverpool should ditch shamed idiot Luis Suarez
Published 24/04/2013 | 08:00
I put Luis Suarez in the same bracket as Lionel Messi and Ronaldo as the players I truly savour watching.
Unfortunately, with the Uruguayan, he gives you 'everything': the good, the bad and, too often, the downright ugly.
It was all in evidence on Sunday. There was the brilliance of his pass to Sturridge for Liverpool's first equaliser and Suarez himself delivered the second dramatically in the seventh minute of added time.
Yet there was the 'bad' too with his wholly unnecessary handball for Chelsea's penalty when it seemed Liverpool had wrested the initiative from the London side.
And then ...
What could possibly have gone through his mind to bite the arm of Branislav Ivanovic? I cannot think of any provocation, and it doesn't seem that there was any, to justify such behaviour.
Indeed, the Serbian's reaction, at the time and later when he was approached by Surrey Police to see if he wanted to make a complaint, exuded dignity: unlike Suarez.
Saying 'sorry' in these circumstances cannot be enough. We can't ignore the history Suarez trails behind him: that seven-match ban in Holland after he'd bitten the shoulder of an Eindhoven player.
Charges of racism, of course, are far more serious though Suarez had the defence then about the use of language in his home country where the term 'negrito' has far less threatening connotations. And the FA never did deal with the provocative language of Patrice Evra himself ...
In a weekend interview Suarez referred to the street football he was brought up in where 'picardia' is essential, a mixture of cunning, naughtiness and feistiness. THIS though is the English Premier League.
I must make one thing plain: while I was commentating, I didn't see precisely what happened. There is a tiny monitor in our position on the Centenary Stand gantry, more or less useless. It was the studio that alerted me to the 'bite' having been able to concentrate on the replays they saw while I was following the play.
That is my 'excuse' but there can be none for the player. Once the FA sees the report of Kevin Friend and determines that he didn't 'see' it either, they will ask what his action would have been if he had done. Plainly, he would have sent off Suarez. And then they will decide what the punishment should be.
It'll be severe. It has to be. It has to carry over till next season. But, right now, it's difficult to see how Suarez will still be playing for Liverpool, still playing in England.
On reflection, many at the club probably regret their staunch defence of him over the Evra business. There can be none now. His action is patently "inexcusable" – his word – and, whatever his immense talent, how can you trust him to behave? However difficult to replace, he should have played his last game for Liverpool.
There is a huge financial consideration. Suarez must be worth far more now than the £23 million they paid for him but he's 'damaged goods'. Liverpool may just have to accept this and take the hit. I see no alternative.
A wonderful woman, Anne Williams, died last week, just a couple of days after a particularly moving Hillsborough Memorial Service at Anfield. She and it represented so many of the excellent values of a great football club. Suarez doesn't.