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Can Liverpool forgive Suarez?

25 June 2014, 14:52

Nairobi - Luis Suarez is set to return to England as public enemy number one after single handedly ending the Three Lions' 2014 World Cup campaign, but following another incident of biting from the Uruguayan, can Liverpool fans once again forgive and forget?

The world stood in utter disbelief on Tuesday as Suarez appeared to bite the shoulder of Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini just moments before Uruguay scored the winning goal in their decisive World Cup Group D clash in Natal.

It was a stark reminder, if one was even needed, of Suarez's bite on Branislav Ivanovic last year which earned him a 10-match Premier League ban, as well as the disdain of almost every supporter of the beautiful game, bar those Liverpudlians who somehow managed to overlook such a 'transgression'.

It is not only apparent acts of cannibalism that taint Suarez's reputation, though, with the forward's most unforgivable outburst to date coming when he racially abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra in 2011 - a grotesque moment which earned him an eight-match ban and £40,000 fine.

However, even that was not enough for Anfield's faithful to turn their back on Suarez, who continued to be hailed as the Merseysiders' golden child, and who last season produced some phenomenal performances to scoop the Premier League's Golden Boot and Player of the Season awards, while also being named the Football Writers' Association Player of the Season.

To Suarez, the multitude of recognition meant all had been forgiven and that being one of the planet's most gifted footballers had expunged all his wrongdoings while simultaneously leaving him on the moral high ground. How else could one explain these comments, made by the striker after scoring both of Uruguay's goals in the 2-1 win over England earlier this month: "Before the game too many people in England laughed about my attitude over the last few years. This is a very good time for me."

First of all, no-one was laughing. In fact, the general consensus was one of utter appall and disbelief. Secondly, it was never Suarez's 'attitude' that had the public reeling in disgust, but rather the fact he is a blatant racist and hooligan, plain and simple.

The striker then went on to say: "I want to see what they think now." Well, Suarez, 'they' think your career as an international footballer is hanging by a thread as FIFA have charged you with gross misconduct, which carries a possible two-year ban.

The old adage goes: 'once bitten, twice shy', and that could not more accurately described the current situation.

With the eyes of the world awaiting a swift decision, and with biting seemingly ingrained in Suarez's psyche, any hopes of the striker turning over a new leaf (something Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers suggested his star player had done last season), seem futile.

World football's governing body can also not afford to let Suarez off the hook and then have the decision come back and, er, bite them, and if I were to be blunt, I would say throw the entire FIFA book at him and impose the maximum 24-month ban.

As for his association with Liverpool, well, I foresee not a single eyelid batting on Merseyside. The Reds have already stood by their man through it all, defending his actions at every corner and brushing aside any argument that was not entirely directed at his footballing talents. After all, he scores goals - 31 of them in the Premier League last season alone which spurred Liverpool on to a second-placed finish and Champions League qualification, so how could they possibly even fathom imposing the mildest of club suspensions.

Besides, with Suarez so clearly an unpredictable entity, any attempt by Anfield to discipline him could see him throw every one of his toys out of the cot and force his proposed move to Real Madrid, and what kind of a campaign in 2014/15 would the Reds be facing without their talisman.

Ryan Gordon

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