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Monday Moan: Stop defending looney Luis

Mark Holmes blasts those wishing to defend Luis Suarez and believes Liverpool's backing of him proves money is more important than class.

Last Updated: 22/04/13 at 18:28 Post Comment

Luis Suarez: Deserves all the criticism he gets

Luis Suarez: Deserves all the criticism he gets

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Suarez defending has to stop

There is a feeling among many Liverpool fans that Luis Suarez is unfairly demonized by the English press and rival supporters, simply because of who he plays for.

To them, every slight moment of misconduct from the Uruguayan is blown out of proportion by people always looking to pick fault in the Reds' best player.

They feel he is criticised far more for diving than other players, for example, despite the fact that there are other more regular offenders.

There may be an element of truth in that - slating Suarez certainly helps sell newspapers, get people onto a website or inspire people to call a radio station - but the reputation Suarez has outside of Anfield is 100% justified.

He is not the only player to have dived, he's not the only player to have been accused of stamping, he's not the only player to have gone in late for a tackle, he's not the only player to have deliberately handballed, he's not the only player to have made an offensive gesture towards opposition fans, he's not the only player to have punched an opponent, he's not the only player to have been accused of racist abuse, he's not even the only player to have bitten an opponent...but he must be the only player in the history of football to have done the lot.

Anyone that thinks Suarez is unfairly picked on is living in Cloud Cuckoo land. There has simply never been a player like him. Sunday wasn't even the first time he had bitten somebody on a football pitch, for goodness sake.

The ironic thing is, in spite of some Liverpool fans' claims of his actions constantly being blown out of proportion, Suarez has done so much wrong throughout his career and his time in England that many of his offences are actually downplayed.

Suarez's backers have done such a good job of convincing others that he is harshly treated that there is more defence of him and more downplaying of his actions today than there would be had any other player done what he did on Sunday. That is more annoying than the act itself.

Success more important than class

Had someone like Jonjo Shelvey, for example, been accused of racist abuse last season and biting this - not to mention everything else - Liverpool would have had no problem making an example of him. There is no doubt whatsoever that he would be bombed out of the club.

Because Luis Suarez's talents are rather more precocious, though, Liverpool's morals are not quite as strong. The club's managing director Ian Ayre has already confirmed the 26-year-old will be staying at Anfield.

As a team, Liverpool simply cannot do without Suarez. He is their best player, irreplaceable whilst the club remains out of the Champions League, and without him they may well have found themselves in mid-table this season. It's no wonder the club and the fans are standing by him.

However, while the team cannot afford to lose Suarez's talent, senior figures at the club will be aware of the damage caused by continuing to carry the player's baggage. For a club that prides itself on its class, Suarez is their worst nightmare.

Unfortunately, with the desperation to make the Champions League growing with each passing season for Liverpool, the money Suarez can earn the club is more important to them than the class he is robbing them of.

Mignolet should have seen red

Most critics of referees will tell you they want the men in the middle to be more consistent and use more common sense.

The truth, of course, is that you cannot have both. If referees use their common sense, then the rules will not be applied consistently.

Unfortunately, referees are not allowed to use their common sense and must instead work to the letter of the law.

That explains why Simon Mignolet was not sent off for catching Sebastian Larsson's goal-bound back pass in Sunderland's win over Everton on Saturday.

FIFA's laws of the games state that a player must be sent off for 'denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball' - but add this particular rule 'does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area'.

Presumably, that caveat was added because a goalkeeper, as the last line of defence, could be deemed to be denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity every time they handled a backpass. Yet, in most instances, it would be ridiculous for a goalkeeper to be shown a red card for doing so.

If Phil Dowd had followed the laws to the letter, he would not even have booked Mignolet, but he clearly realised this was an exceptional case.

It was not an ordinary back pass from Larsson; he hit it with enough pace and power that the ball would almost certainly have flown straight into his own net had Mignolet not reached up to grab it.

It was one of the clearest examples you are ever likely to see of a player denying the opposition an obvious goalscoring opportunity, yet Everton got neither a penalty nor the advantage of Sunderland losing a man.

Just this once, Dowd should have used his common sense.

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