Saying goodbye is hard but can Liverpool justify keeping Luis Suarez?

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The future of Luis Suarez at Liverpool is dividing opinion and Chris Williams explains why he believes it could be the end of the road at Anfield for the Uruguayan.

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 1, 2014: Liverpool's Luis Suarez celebrates after setting-up the second goal against Southampton during the Premiership match at St Mary's Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Luis Suarez celebrates after setting-up the second goal. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

 

What I’m about to write pains me a great deal.

It pains me because since John Barnes graced my vision as a young lad growing up I haven’t seen a better technical master on the ball than Luis Suarez.

No player has fostered the childlike obsession like Luis Suarez has, he is truly a master of wizardry when it comes to a synthetic spherical object inflated to 0.2 atmospheres.

Suarez has form, he had it before he arrived at Liverpool. Suarez has that uncontrollable red mist that descends; it makes him a liability but that sheer focus makes him a winner, the will to win is unstoppable.

On first reflection I’d take a team of Suarez’ every single day over a team of nice guys who lack the appetite (no pun) to compete at the highest level, and by Christ we’ve had a few of them over the last two decades.

I’ll skirt over the Patrice Evra incident as the only two people who will ever know what happened are Evra and Suarez. The FA found him guilty through probability; i.e. He probably did it, no concrete evidence one way or the other.

I’m not a fan of circumstantial evidence I operate on definitives not ifs, buts and maybes.

To this day I am still unsure on my stance, I’d like to think that no one would make reference to someone’s race as a derogatory statement in a sporting fixture; I’m not naive enough to think it doesn’t happen, I just think we as a human race owe more than that to each other.

Cue the 21 April 2013 and Branislav Ivanovic. A frustrated Suarez reacted with an out of nowhere bite to the Chelsea defender.

I think I wasn’t alone by palming my hand into my face and thinking “what the fu…”. Suarez received a 10 match ban from the FA and Liverpool started the 2013/14 season without their talisman.

Suarez apologised for his “inexcusable behaviour,” adding, “I apologise to my manager and everyone at Liverpool for letting them down”.

Ian Ayre said his actions on the pitch did not befit that of a Liverpool player and Suarez had a long summer to contemplate his actions.

He returned to action in the September of 2013 and went on to give the impression of a changed man, he almost guided Liverpool to a 19th league title and set to bed the idea that he was a liability, he proved to the world, but more importantly to the club, that his talent and ability was world class. An asset that any club would be proud to have.

Brazil 2014 was supposed to be Suarez’ crowning glory, the opportunity to establish himself as the natural successor to the Messi or Ronaldo debate. He single-handily dumped England out of the World Cup with a natural display of clinical finishing.

Suarez had arrived and he had performed on the biggest of all stages just when his country needed him the most.

This leads us to the group D World Cup match between Italy and Uruguay at the Arena das Dunas in Natal, Brazil, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. A frustrated Suarez (see above for after reaction to frustration) once again decided to react with a bite.

What were we witnessing? He was a changed man was he not? He’d rebuilt his reputation in England and across the world but in one swift second Suarez had broken down everything he’d worked so hard to change over the 2013/14 season.

In one mad moment he’d shown the world he was a liability, albeit a world class one.

FIFA have this afternoon handed out a 4 month world wide suspension from all footballing activities. This prevents Suarez from even entering the Uruguay World Cup hotel. More crucially it prevents him from training with Liverpool until October.

His actions have gone someway to underline the old adage “a leopard never changes it’s spots”. His actions have also ensured he can’t train with his club, who will continue to pay him £200,000 a week for this privilege.

He will miss the first nine Premier League games (for the second successive season). He will also miss the first three Champions League group games. That equates to a quarter of a season.

I opened this piece with the words “What I’m about to write pains me a great deal” and I chose this because, for me, it’s time to cut our losses; our losses as a club.

Suarez is a tortured soul and Liverpool have stuck by him through thick and thin on countless more occasions than mentioned here but it is evident he hasn’t learnt his lesson.

I don’t do this from any moral standpoint but from a standpoint of no one is bigger than the club.

When a player can not learn from his mistakes, and those mistakes impact the club time and time again, then you can do no more than say thank you for the memories.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 11, 2014: Liverpool's Luis Suarez looks dejected after missing a chance against Newcastle United during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)
Luis Suarez looks dejected after missing a chance against Newcastle United during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Loyalty is rare in football and Liverpool have been loyal to Suarez, however he has repaid this loyalty with no change in his behaviour which now impacts us as a club, again.

£200,000 a week and not playing for 16 weeks isn’t good business.

Missing a quarter of a season through repeated poor indiscipline isn’t good business.

Having £80m of talent sat at home when that money could be reinvested isn’t good business. A player unable to train with the squad, or at Melwood on his own, until October isn’t good business.

The same player being way short of match fitness or squad tactical knowledge until approximately December isn’t good business.

With Real Madrid or Barcelona waiting in the wings with £80m, and even with a successful appeal which is unlikely, I’m sorry to say that with his liability status in no doubt then for Liverpool Football Club Luis Suarez is no longer good business.

Do you agree with Chris? Let us know in the comments below.

To mark the end of the 30-year wait for a league title, the ‘Liverpool Mishmash’ poster is available to order exclusively on This Is Anfield — the history of the Reds in one image!

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