WHAT to make of Luis Suarez?
WHAT to make of Luis Suarez?
A week after his memorable hat-trick at Norwich City, the Uruguayan found himself in the headlines for all the wrong reasons again following his dive against Stoke City.
Actually, to call it a dive would be doing a disservice to some of football’s most infamous tumbles.
This was more of a half-hearted flop having lost possession, Suarez almost apologetically dropping to the turf before probably wishing it would then open up and swallow him.
It’s not as if Suarez’s blatant attempt to con the referee made any difference to the game.
But that’s not the point.
Sure, Suarez will feel he was being provoked by Stoke’s strong-arm tactics and the failure of referee Lee Mason to offer any genuine protection.
Sure, the Uruguayan was probably still smarting from being stamped on by Robert Huth earlier in the game.
And sure, the striker was no doubt incredibly frustrated at having to lead Liverpool’s attack all on his lonesome once more.
All of that, though, is no excuse for a bellyflop about as unconvincing as a John Terry defence case.
Suarez, not for the first time, has become a problem.
And at the risk of playing devil’s advocate, should Liverpool consider cashing in on the Uruguayan at the end of the season?
First things first. There is utterly no suggestion the Anfield outfit are looking to sell Suarez, and his recently-penned long-term contract underlines the commitment both player and club have to their relationship.
But Suarez has courted controversy throughout his Liverpool career, from the race row with Patrice Evra, the obscene gesture towards Fulham supporters and his tendency for – admittedly not always unprompted – amateur dramatics inside the area.
The latter is what will concern Brendan Rodgers the most right now.
Rodgers admitted in the wake of last Saturday’s grim, grim goalless draw against Stoke that there is a danger that every game could turn into a Luis Suarez story.
There’s no danger, Brendan. It’s actually happening. And it’s starting to distract from the work, both good and bad, that Liverpool are producing.
Sell Suarez, and the team would remove a controversial presence and Rodgers would receive a fee to reinvest into his squad.
But here’s the flipside.
Imagine this Liverpool side without Suarez. He might not get as many goals as he should, but he remains the team’s most likely to score.
Suarez was by some distance Liverpool’s most dangerous attacker last weekend, despite being on the end of some borderline GBH from the Stoke defence.
He can do things that few others – if any – can produce in the Premier League, particularly inside the penalty area when his ability to wriggle away from defenders is unparalleled.
When on the pitch, Suarez wears his heart on his sleeve but his frustrations too often get the better of him.
The Uruguayan needs to stop trying to balance his perceived injustices by winning penalties and instead exact the greatest retribution of all by scoring goals.
Selling Suarez next summer would solve one problem for Liverpool.
But it would create a much, much bigger one.