Opinion: Luis Suarez is becoming a liability for Liverpool
06:30 29 June 2014
Kenny Jackett should be applauded: he appears to be the only person who has not got an opinion on Luis Suarez, which is commendable given half the world is talking about him. Even my football-hating wife has an opinion on Suarez, for goodness sake.
Jackett was being interviewed on Sky TV this week and was asked what he made of Suarez’s bite on Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini.
“I have no opinion on Luis Suarez,” he said, or words to that effect.
Suarez has now had the Fifa book thrown at him, with a nine-game international ban and four-month blanket ban, which leaves Liverpool in a very difficult position; they defended him after he used racist words to Manchester United’s Patrice Evra; they stuck by him and, to their credit, tried to rehabilitate him after he bit Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, which earned him a 10-game ban. But just when their patience appears to have paid off, Suarez lets them down again - and not even in their red shirt, but in the blue of his country, Uruguay.
Having heard this week suggestions that the bite is on a par with a particularly bad tackle, or an elbow in the face, it does need pointing out that a bite isn’t part of the usual course of the game. Feet fly into tackles, elbows are raised, but teeth aren’t generally part and parcel of the mechanics of the game - they’re usually kept behind lips.
It’s a bit like spitting at someone: it is reasonably harmless, although hugely offensive. It is an action that is completely divorced from the exertions of the game when aimed at an opponent. There will come a time when opponents will look at Suarez’s actions and decide it is too risky to play against him. What if a persistent offender was carrying a disease? Would you fancy taking your chances? Suarez has become a liability – as his teams’ sponsors may well find out. Who wants to be associated with a man who can’t control his teeth? Suarez deserved every day of his ban, but it is the repercussions which will last longer. While he is a man of undoubted talent on the football field, his misdemeanours are in danger of making him a pariah.
His latest actions could cost Liverpool dearly. Therefore, they will hurt Liverpool supporters, who pay handsomely to watch their team play. Having just enjoyed an excellent season, they will be expecting to go one better, plenty of trips into Europe perhaps. Now what?
I fear Liverpool have bitten off more than can chew.
‘Dyke was right, when we needed him to be wrong’
Roy Hodgson didn’t bother to read my team sheet then. I specifically told him to pick Fraser Forster in goal for the game against Costa Rica, not Ben Foster.
The assumption must be that he misread my scrawl. Although having heard the England manager say he took a lot of positives out of a goalless draw with Costa Rica, I have to wonder.
Like many England fans I did try to keep a lid on my hopes for the World Cup. I was pleased he took some younger players to Brazil - I wasn’t pleased he didn’t gave them so little game time.
I was pleased he took Fraser Forster. I was not pleased Forster was the only fit player not to play a minute. I was also not pleased he took Foster, a player who turned his back on England but then was quick to return to the fold when his old chum called. He should never have worn the shirt again. Plus, Forster is a better keeper.
What worries me just as much is that if the FA want Hodgson to stay on, and he insists he will, what will he do next? Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will, most likely, have played their last games for England. But it’s hard to see where able replacements come from.
The back four were dire. Did anyone really believe we had a chance with Phil Jagielka in the team? He’s a good Premier League player, but that’s all. The back line’s performances made me think naughty thoughts - I hate to admit it, but I wanted John Terry back in the team. Yes, I know he has quit as well, but I wanted him there. I am not being hypercritical: Terry turned his back on England because he was too busy carrying his baggage around to have time to concentrate on representing his country. His reputation was tarnished by various controversies. He’d had enough.
And Ashley Cole - he would have been a better choice than Leighton Baines, who was strangely subdued.
Glen Johnson? I really don’t know where to go with this one.
The truth is, tournament after tournament we do the same thing. We rip apart the squad, we blame the manager, and then we get the promises that all will be well next time.
But each time, the FA fail to deliver.
It is not our job to come up with the answers, it is theirs.
Yet they are headed by a man who put his finger across his throat when the draw was made to signify what he thought England’s fate in the group of death might be - and then proceeded to tell us all that we weren’t good enough to win it and that he had a plan to make the England team great again, which involved stamping all over the lower league game.
Sadly, Greg Dyke was right on one thing: we weren’t good enough to win it.
Which is curious, because it was his job to be wrong.
Like Hodgson was.
‘New shirts are sign of game’s greed’
Fashion. It’s about as far removed from my life as walking on the moon. Which is why I have no interest in wearing a replica football shirt. I do have two (gifts) in my possession, both from an overseas club which will not attempt to bend my mind and persuade me to purchase one after another.
There are many who succumb to the temptation.
Personally, I see no reason why a kit should be changed at such regular intervals.
The obvious conclusion is that almost every club in the land with a club shop wheels out new kit after new kit to help line their coffers.
Clubs are allowed to do pretty much what they want, but they know darned well that little Jimmy wouldn’t be seen in last year’s kit. So they have a very captive market.
And if you are an enterprising type who fancies knocking off a few from your back garden shed, think again - even if it isn’t a copy of the design, you can’t link them with any particular club.
Stick a badge on and the fashion police will be the least of your worries.
Aside from the “dad, dad, I want that shirt, I must have that shirt” types, there are many more who wear the shirt as a show of support, a mark of the pride in which they hold their team. Fair enough: but wouldn’t it be good if, for example, a national team who did so appallingly at a major tournament didn’t have the temerity to charge £60 for the dubious privilege of associating yourself with such abysmal failure?