Luis Suarez may be serving a 10-match ban that will see him out of first-team, competitive action until late September, but there could be opportunities for him to appear for Liverpool before then…
NOTE: This article has been updated, see updates below.
Namely, the Liverpool Under 21’s final game of the season – away to Man United, at Old Trafford, on Monday 6th May.
Suarez’s ban applies to First Team matches, and teams are allowed 3 overage players per game in the Under 21 League – Joe Cole and Lucas Leiva appeared for the Reds’ earlier this season.
The FA lists Suarez as:
Suspended from all first team football until the Club have completed 10 first team matches.
Paragraph 90 of the written reasons for Suarez’s ban states:
“We, therefore, ordered that Mr Suarez serve an immediate suspension until such time as Liverpool First Team has completed 10 recognised qualifying matches.”
The requisite of First Team is clearly stated, but it is unclear if he is able to take part in Under 21 action.
We have sought to find clarification on the rule from The FA.
If eligible, he could even play in the penultimate Under 21’s match this Friday against Arsenal too, to be played at Underhill, home of Barnet FC.
Liverpool U21’s are currently third, a place and a point behind United in the Elite League stage. The Reds lost the corresponding fixture with United 1-0 in February – a 94th minute winner for the visitors at Langtree Park.
After the final group match, the League goes into a knock-out phase, where the second and third placed teams in the Elite Group would meet in the semi-final – meaning another likely meeting with Man United. That would take place on Saturday May 11th. The final is then a week later.
So far there has been no indication from Liverpool to include Suarez in these matches, and the situation has not been clarified by The FA. His influence on the youngsters in the squad would be a superb experience for them and his inclusion can clearly help push the Under 21’s to success.
Imagine a front three of Suso, Sterling and Suarez lining up in an under 21’s match! Sure to attract interest and provide a good experience for all.
Suarez will then be in action for Uruguay in the Confederations Cup, which takes place in Brazil from 15th to 30th June.
Then we will be into pre-season, where Liverpool will travel to Asia and Australia – the first fixture being on July 20th in Indonesia.
The next appearance of Suarez in a Liverpool shirt at Anfield will likely be Steven Gerrard’s testimonial on August 3rd.
UPDATE: The FA have now replied to us on twitter, stating that “He [Suarez] can’t play in any competitive fixtures until the ten games have been played.”
@thisisanfield Hi. He can’t play in any competitive fixtures until the ten games have been played.
— The FA (@FA) April 29, 2013
UPDATE: Another reply from The FA:
@thisisanfield Yes. He’s banned from domestic competitive matches at any level until the ten first team fixtures have been played.
— The FA (@FA) April 29, 2013
We’re trying to check if any other players have appeared for Under 21’s while serving a First Team suspension this season.
We’ll update this article if/when we get further clarification.
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