Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Fangs are just not what they used to be at Anfield

Luis Suarez faces the prospect of missing the last four games of this campaign and the first six of next season
Luis Suarez faces the prospect of missing the last four games of this campaign and the first six of next season

Our heartiest congratulations go to Alan Smith for clinching the 2013 Understatement of the Year competition.

Yes, it may only be April but there’s no way in this or in any other worlds yet to be discovered, that the Sky pundit’s comment on Luis Suarez’s antics will be surpassed.

“He’s such a tremendous player but with it comes a little bit of baggage,” said Smith, as spray from mugs of tea from viewers on sofas cascaded across living rooms the length and breadth of the land.

For those of you who have been on one of those aforementioned undiscovered worlds since Sunday, that little scamp of a Liverpool forward has been a naughty boy again, sinking his not inconsiderable fangs into the forearm of Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic.

It’s not the first time Smith has made such an impact at Anfield, scorer of the first of the two goals that won Arsenal the title on a never to be forgotten night in 1989, when wee Luis was but a babe in arms and chewing on a Farley’s Rusk.

Now he’s onto solids he clearly prefers more protein in his diet and his alfresco dining experience was unsavoury viewing for Smith aghast that “It looks like he’s sunk his gnashers in there!”

 This led to a Uruguayan inquisition as it was missed by the referee — the aptly named Kevin Friend — but not by the Sky cameras and after the game it was over to that shrinking violent of a player — Graeme Souness — to pontificate first.

 “I’m not sure what to make of it really,” he said, not providing presenter Ed Chamberlin with the answer he wanted before concluding that it ‘puts him in the last chance saloon’. Always nice to have a cheeky red at hand while you’re eating.

Thankfully renowned social anthropologist and psychotherapist, Professor Jamie Redknapp, was on hand to offer a more cerebral diagnosis.

“There’s that madness-genius gene in him,” he began. “Why on earth would you want to take a chunk out of someone’s arm — it’s an incredible act of brutality.”

This is possibly the longest sentence Jamie has ever constructed without using the words ‘at the end of the day’ in it but he still had the presence of mind to churn out the usual cliché that kids across the land would go on to copy their hero.

At least the managers would come out and damn Suarez, or at least call for him to be on the dangerous animals list, and boy did Brendan Rodgers give him a chewing. Err, no.

“We’ll review it,” said the Liverpool boss, while Liverpool boss No.2 Rafa Benitez didn’t see it and preferred to talk about there being so much time added on at the end to allow that wee imp Luis to score an equaliser.

Maybe it had something to do with the fact that one of ‘your’ players spent a bit of time indicating to the ref that someone had tried to eat him?

Of course by the time Match of the Day 2 came on air the incident had gone viral (that can happen when you suffer a bite) and Colin Murray was in his element.

“It is quite the menu and the first course comes from Anfield,” he said without the merest hint of a snigger but Guy Mowbray wasn’t taking things so lightly as the highlights got to the low lights.

“That is quite incredible and pretty disgusting,” said Mowbray, who, unlike Suarez, clearly doesn’t like his meat blue.

“If he’d sunk his choppers into Chopper Harris I don’t think he would have been standing,” he said with rightful nostalgic indignation but recovered in time at the end to conclude that ‘Liverpool have bitten back’ as imaginary drums crashed in our heads.

Back in the studio and Robbie Savage was on hand to comment. This was doubly apt as he is called Savage and has witnessed the horrors of biting at first hand, although his were self-inflicted love bites.

Along with Alan Hansen the pair were absolutely horrified, appalled and disgusted and but the biggest excitement was reserved for Savage who, set up deftly by Murray, answered who had started following Suarez on Twitter — Mike Tyson!

The one-time ear-biter jumped to his defence but as character witnesses go, then Tyson isn’t exactly the man you’d want in your corner. He has slightly more sinister skeletons in his cupboard than some daft footballer losing the run of himself.

But the final word must go to Sky and ahead of Monday Night Football (or MNF if you’re sad) there was a moment of genius as an advert for a new programme appeared. Hannibal starts soon and promises to be absolutely unbelievable, Jeff.

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