Neil Poole explains why, despite the impending ill-felt end to his career at Liverpool, there are many reasons to find Suarez’s moments of genius in an important place in our hearts.
There is increasing resignation amongst fans that Luis Suarez’s life at Liverpool Football Club will soon come to an end. Like with the loss of any loved one people are responding in different and understandable ways. Some are mourning the seemingly inevitable end with great sadness. Others are angry at the sense of injustice. The third response is to value the time Suarez has spent with us before he shuffles off Liverpool’s mortal coil, and to celebrate him. For that, I am here to oblige.
So, why celebrate and what to celebrate? Firstly, the why.
Sometimes the basic reason of why Luis Suarez has been loved so much and defended so vociferously by Liverpool fans is lost and forgotten in the never-ending storm that surrounds him:
On countless occasions over the last two and a half years that lad has had all of us beaming from ear to ear.
When things aren’t going well, whether on a football level, politically, economically or personally, even a flash of happiness is a priceless commodity that people do not want to give up.
The simple concept that we watch football for enjoyment dissipates in the muddied waters of our media ‘s football coverage; the lifeblood of which is controversy and heated debate. It’s no surprise therefore that most of the words written and spoken about Luis Suarez which are meant for the public domain will contain some sort of caveat, in which Suarez is discussed as some sort of schizophrenic. You’ll have no doubt often felt as if you’re reading or hearing about two different things at once.
If the article is generally positive the author will write something about the bad stuff because they won’t want to be seen to be condoning the use of racist language, diving or biting. If it’s negative they will pay some sort of lip service to his footballing ability to demonstrate that they haven’t got cataract. All opinion about Suarez it seems must be placed in context. This context is everything Suarez has ever done…ever.
If you ever fancy delving a bit more into the inability of many journalists to resist using linguistic gymnastics when writing about Suarez to bamboozle the reader, I would strongly recommend having a read of Rob Gutmann’s excellent deconstruction of a veiled attack on Suarez by Daily Mail columnist, Martin Samuel .
So, put all the ‘other’ stuff aside a moment. Think back to your last Luis Suarez “Get in!” experience. Whatever it was at that precise moment in time that made you jump up from your seat, clap your hands or pull your trousers down (just me then), I’ll guarantee you weren’t worrying about what he had done in the past and you weren’t worrying about what he was going to do in the future. At that point you were living for the moment. There was no conscious context and you existed in a big goofy faced vacuum of pure sentiment which can be best summed up as, ‘That was boss!’
You may not have known it but Luis Suarez had just made a Buddhist of you.
For those of you who are not religious Buddha is the cross-legged guy that your mum, wife or girlfriend has a statue of in the garden or the house even though she isn’t a Buddhist. But as well as being an aesthetically pleasing sight in garden centres the little fella said some insightful stuff too, such as:
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
I believe this is why even though Suarez may have done your head in and he may soon leave us under a cloud, his time at Liverpool should still be celebrated. He has given us too many of these priceless times when we could all just live for the moment and not worry about what was to come or what had come before.
This also answers exactly ‘what’ we should celebrate about Suarez. We should celebrate the things he did which gifted us those moments.
So in light of all this liberated thinking and in the spirit of Jack Kerouac I’ll now dabble in a bit stream of consciousness. This is to say that I’ll now recall, as they come to me and without any prior thought, 3 Suarez moments which at the time were worthy of unbridled joy and celebration. It may well be that I think differently now (I might not) in light of what’s gone on, but to start discussing that would dilute the moment in time and miss the point entirely.
The Swallow Dive in front of Moyes
Suarez scores against Everton at Goodison, sprints half the pitch to the technical area, dodging the attempts of players to grab him to celebrate and dives in front of Moyes.
But there was something about that dive that was almost classic Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton that made it so funny. I remember Drogba diving in front of Rafa and fair enough it was funny if you weren’t a Liverpool fan. But he just dived on the floor. There was no physical comedy in it.
The way Suarez hung in the air for an age, arms across his chest, blankly staring at Moyes before falling like a deadweight to the floor and then stretching his arms out in front of him while grinning was ‘Del Boy falling through the bar’ type humour. It was enhanced even further by Moyes’ impotence (not that type) and Rodgers’ smirk.
Assist against Manchester United which would have been goal of the season if Dirk Kuyt hadn’t helped it over the line
Luis Suarez’s first game against Manchester United. He receives the ball, back to goal, left hand side of the 18yd boxat the Anfield Road end. Swivels, turns inside, turns outside beating 3 Manchester United defenders before nutmegging Edwin van de Sar at an acute angle. The ball is going to go over the line but Dirk Kuyt obliges in the spirit of Craig Johnston (1986 FA Cup Final), except he actually gets a touch.
For me that was the point when it dawned that we had just bought a truly world class player who alone was going to be worth the entrance money into Anfield.
Goal from the halfway line against Norwich
Suarez receives a long pass from Glen Johnson just inside our own half, turns, get a bit of a luck with a rebound from the Norwich player which allows the ball to break for him. About 10 yards into the Norwich half, he looks up, shoots and the ball loops over the keeper straight into the goal without touching the floor (which always makes it better).
Now, team goals made up of 143 passes and 20 minutes possession are brilliant. But let’s be honest, for that absolutely gut instinct joy at a goal you really can’t beat one from the half way line or an overhead kick (especially if I’ts Pele with a broken arm in Escape to Victory – or was it ribs? Can’t remember.)
I really could go on and on and on. You will all have your own examples. Feel free to share and to celebrate the rise of Luis Suarez. A fall may soon follow… but don’t worry about that. For now, Luis Suarez can still be our buddhy.
(This wouldn’t be a Suarez article without a caveat. So this is mine: If Suarez goes to another Premiership side, and particularly if it’s Chelsea, forget everything I’ve said above he can fu…)