Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 September 2014

Suarez will stay at Liverpool

Branislav Ivanovic of Chelsea talks with Luis Suarez of Liverpool as they walk in for half time during the Barclays Premier League match between Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield on April 21, 2013 in Liverpool

Teeth-sinker Luis Suarez has felt the FA's disciplinary bite, having been charged with violent conduct towards Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic.

It's a significant punishment, however Suarez is arguably the most gifted player in the Premiership and for that reason, he won't be leaving Liverpool.

Forget all the talk about no player being bigger than the club.

That's all very well if you can find an equal replacement.

Manager Brendan Rodgers knows that's not on, simply because the Uruguayan remains a vital cog in his and Liverpool's future.

It's a nonsense to be pontificating about a moral issue. If that was the benchmark, most clubs would be missing several players.

Of course Suarez deserves the punishment – and help in dealing with a disturbed personality which often takes him from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Liverpool have already fined him although no amount has been specified. They'll probably also come out with a final warning, and settle on the FA's match-suspension.

It was thought the FA and Liverpool were caught between a rock and a hard place.

Could they be seen to make a physical assault deserving of more punishment than racial abuse for which Suarez got an eight-match ban? The answer was yes.

Some bookmakers are going 13/8 he'll leave Merseyside in the summer transfer window. Take the 1/3 that he stays – that's a virtual certainty.

Those convinced Rodgers will ditch him, should consider the 5/1 offer that Suarez goes to Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, top-dog Sir Alex Ferguson who has taken Manchester United to a record 20th title, is 13/2 to step down at the end of the season, but the layers are of the opinion Fergie will give it another year at least. Hill's are as short as 5/2 he departs before August.

Robin Van Persie secured the Premier League with a first-half hat-trick over Aston Villa, including a wonderful volley which is 6/4 to be selected as goal of the season.

As for 2013-14, United head the market at 13/8 for a 21st success with City 11/5.

When will Ferguson quit as United manager (Best prices): 13/2 2013; 9/4 2014; 5/2 2015; 3/1 2016 or later.

How many more titles will Fergie win (void if he retires before new season): 11-8 none; 6/4 one; 5/1 two; 16/1 three; 20/1 four or more.

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