NEW DELHI: Ever since the whole “bitegate” phenomenon involving Luis Suarez and Branislav Ivanovic occurred, every single person on this planet who follows football knows that Suarez is not going to last. Not because of the audacity of his actions, but simply because it was a classic case of “history” repeating itself.
Suarez, who represented Ajax Amsterdam in the Dutch League and scored 81 goals in 110 appearances, was involved in a similar altercation with PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal that led to the Uruguayan being handed an analogous 7-match ban. In fact, the word “altercation” is too gentle.
The actions of Suarez were hands-down undisciplined and completely irrational. No matter how much frustrated one is on the field, no matter how much things are not going in your direction, one just cannot lose their cool. Let’s not get things wrong, even the best have been involved in some pretty despicable scenarios – David Beckham, Steven Gerrard, Zinedine Zidane, etc – but to do the same thing twice in three years just does not cut it.
Coming back to Ajax, Suarez needless to say was on his way out of the club. Liverpool was his new home. Anfield, his new playground. He didn’t even serve a one-match ban. The penalty went just like that. And ask anyone, but that is what the problem is to begin with. “If you commit the crime, you’ve gotta do the time.” Suarez didn’t. Which is what made him take things for granted.
Even after the whole Patrice Evra racism ignominy, Suarez always had the backing of Liverpool. The Reds even wore shirts supporting Suarez during the pre-match warm-up against Wigan. It was at that time when the club should have taken things in control. Remember the Good ‘Ol days of Jamie Redknapp, Paul Ince, Robbie Fowler, Michael Owen, David James & co.? “Discipline” was never compromised with in those days.
But nowadays, it’s all gone down the drain. A striker has become bigger than the club. Brendan Rodgers, the manager, for some reason always goes out of his way to pamper Suarez. Why? Is it because the club lacks decent strike-force? Is it because no one at Anfield has that scoring capability? Maybe. But then again, isn’t that your own created problem Brendan? Not buying decent players in the transfer window, shifting Steven Gerrard to a defensive midfield role, letting go players who could have made the difference, etc.
The bottom line is that discipline and passion is totally compromised at Anfield. The aim to win the league seems so distant that there would be a man walking on Mars before the Kop end rejoices. One just cannot let players become bigger than the club. And that is the sole reason why Sir Alex Ferguson will go down as the greatest manager of all time. Sir Alex was never afraid to put his foot down. Eric Cantona, David Beckham, Nicky Butt, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Roy Keane all have seen the wrath of Fergie. And that is why Manchester United is where it is today.
Luis Suarez is probably the greatest thing that has happened to Liverpool ever since Fernando Torres. Suarez has that talent to become one of the legends at Anfield. If only he does not lose his cool all the time. And it’s not even his fault. The Manager and the Owners just don’t want to get involved in the affairs of a club that has a glorious history.
One can’t blame Suarez to demand that he wants to play in the Champions League. It’s natural. Every striker wants to play at the topmost level. But the fact that Liverpool will not be playing in Europe for atleast one more season combined with Suarez’s “I can get away with anything” attitude is what is creating further problems.
Now is the time that Suarez can actually demand what he wants. He’s playing at the top of his game. He’s got the goal-scoring ability. Clubs like Real Madrid and Arsenal are after him. An opportunity to play in the Champions League is in the air. And best of all, he has a 10-match Premier League ban just waiting for him to serve. Why would anyone not want to move away?
It is the right time for Liverpool to put their foot down as well. Suarez needs to go one way or the other. If he stays, then it will be quite a while before he actually gets his mind and heart back in the game for Liverpool. Now is the time that Brendan can redeem himself. Now is the time that the resurrection of the club can start.
People talk so much about the Reds’ glorious history, now is the time to learn something from it. It is time to implement tried and tested ideas rather than experimenting with new ones. Because, quite frankly, the new ones are just not working.