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Reds right to consider Suarez sale

TEAMtalk guest Rich Kitto believes Liverpool would be right to consider selling Luis Suarez this summer, despite his hero status at Anfield.

Last Updated: 25/04/13 at 21:43 Post Comment   

Luis Suarez: Liverpool future unclear

Luis Suarez: Liverpool future unclear

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'I couldn't believe it. I just couldn't believe it. For a club with their history I'd get rid of him, I really would. He is a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club. That player should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again'.

Those words were furiously spewed by Sir Alex Ferguson in light of a reckless decision by Luis Suarez that revisited past unpleasantries. But it was not with regard to his most recent outlandish behaviour against Branislav Ivanovic, rather the Uruguayan's decision to avoid Patrice Evra's handshake in the line-up at Old Trafford last season.

'The only mistakes you make in life are the ones you don't learn from' clearly isn not a quote that Suarez is familiar with. In November 2010 he was given a seven-match ban by the Dutch FA for sinking his teeth into Otman Bakkal when playing for Ajax, and haven taken this into account, the Football Association have now charged the Liverpool striker with violent conduct and a ten-game sentence for a second offence.

It is an outcome that has divided opinion to the extreme. Some feel that it was far too harsh and that he is being victimised, whilst others believe he is a thug who is damaging the game and the reputation of his proud club.

But Suarez has never really been one to gather a unified opinion, nor does he particularly care what people think of him.

When doing an interview with the Sunday Times last week he acknowledged that he is aware of how others, including players, judge him, admitting: "PFA Player of the Year? I'm not sure I'd even vote for me."

If anything, the 26-year-old seems to thrive on the criticism he receives and the abuse he receives away from Anfield does not appear to faze him - out of the 30 goals he has scored this season, 14 have come on the road.

And therein lays the whole dilemma. We've been here so many times before with the sumptuous striker whose statistics can't be argued with, but whose brains are clearly all in his feet. Whilst the opening quote came from Sir Alex Ferguson after the racism scandal, it could quite easily have come from David Moyes or Tony Pulis referencing his diving, the Fulham fans for his swearing, or supporters of Mansfield Town or Ghana for his handballs. Whether he cannot or will not help himself, he simply cannot be trusted to behave.

In many ways, Suarez left the FA in a no-win situation. As he was sanctioned with a seven-match ban in Holland for a similar incident, the punishment had to be greater in order to signify the unwillingness to reform; and due to the eight-match ban he received when found to racially abuse Patrice Evra this new sentence would naturally be compared side by side.

Does this mean that biting an opponent is measurable or worse than racially abusing them? Absolutely not. If any conclusions can be drawn from this it is that the ban the FA served him in 2011 for his clash with Evra was not enough. Though it is difficult to blame the FA for thinking that Suarez may be foolish, brutish and callous enough to carry out such an act once more.

If only he could control his temperament like he controls a football. Generally, despite all his misdemeanours in recent months, people recognise just what an amazing player he is and the quality he brings to both Liverpool and the Premier League. He is wonderfully gifted - some say the third best player in the world on current form - and the majority of those moments that lead you to utter 'I can't believe he has just done that' are when he has the ball at his feet, thankfully.

But can brilliance on the pitch allow you to forgive everything else that comes with it? Ultimately football fans are fickle folk and pay top dollar to see the best players perform the unexpected, the outlandish and the arrogant. Whilst we will shake our head and show our dismay at a wrongdoing that has occurred, we will always flock back once they perform for us again.

For Liverpool, the situation seems pretty clear, as MD Ian Ayre reaffirmed on Tuesday that Luis Suarez is not for sale regardless. The club have never wavered in their support of him, despite the damage done to the club's worldwide reputation. But the club view him as too important to their fortunes on the pitch to simply cast him aside. Though they surely knew what they were getting as his attack on Bakkal was his parting act for Ajax before his £22m move to Merseyside.

It seems ironic now that in his interview with The Times the Uruguayan proclaimed he wanted to stay at the club: "I want to see out my contract - but also in football you never quite know what is ahead".

For Suarez that certainly appears to the case. The Reds have stood by their man to the detriment of their reputation and a manager, and that patience will only remain for so long. After all, what use is the man with all the talent in the world at his toes, if his feet are tied?

Liverpool must prepare to start next season without their talisman, though the possibility of his absence from Brendan Rodgers' side becoming more permanent appears greater than ever. The club insist he is not for sale, but the Reds could not be blamed for contemplating the prospect of cashing in on the sale of both their greatest talent and biggest liability.

By Rich Kitto - follow him on Twitter.

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