It might have been a miserable week on Football365 but battered spirits have been raised by commenters on Monday's otherwise-anodyne gossip column suggesting that a swap deal involving Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi might see Liverpool getting the sticky end of the exchange. Seriously.
I'd consider a straight swap, Messi for Suarez would be an acceptable gamble (and it would be a gamble - Messi's relatively poor form this season could be the beginnings of a decline) but I'd rather keep Suarez. Hopefully Suarez meant it when he said he doesn't want to leave and will come out and say it again after the World Cup.
That was our favourite comment but there have been others - from those who refuse to believe that Suarez might want to leave Liverpool, just as they refused to believe that he might want to leave Liverpool last summer, refused to believe that he would use racist language and refused to believe that two biting incidents were anything other than coincidence. Now there's a third. As we are struggling to name more than a handful of footballers who have felt the need to sink their teeth into an opposition player once, surely even the Uruguayan's staunchest suppporters have to admit that three times offers pretty compelling evidence that they have been defending the indefensible.
We have been told that he has redeemed himself this season by a) scoring a lot of goals and b) not biting or racially abusing anyone, prompting wonderful jokes about Adolf Hitler 'redeeming himself' with that 30-goal season for Sturm Graz. Like the audience who give the guests on Jeremy Kyle a round of applause for finding the strength to stop using the family allowance to buy crack, a lot of gullible people have been fooled - or have chosen to be fooled because, after all, he scores a lot of goals - by a total weapon briefly behaving like a decent human being.
There is good news for those deluded Liverpool fans who would turn down Messi for the walking liability that is Suarez: He is now unlikely to join Real Madrid or Barcelona, two clubs who put far too much weight on commercial value to sign a footballer who would turn the stomach of many fans and sponsors. They baulked at signing him last summer after he grazed on Branislav Ivanovic and it's likely that they will baulk at signing him again after he repeated his trick on football's biggest stage. If Suarez had been keeping his nose (and teeth) clean for a year to re-build his reputation and earn himself a move, he has stumbled at the very last hurdle, just 12 or 13 minutes away from the end of his season as Uruguay faced World Cup exit. Such a low level of self-control is extraordinary.
There will be those that ignore the video evidence and claim Suarez has been tried on reputation alone, there will those who claim that whatever he does in a Uruguayan shirt is irrelevant and there will be those who find somebody else to blame (the media again, perhaps?) for his indiscretions. But maybe there should also be those who admit that Liverpool only own one of the top five footballers in the world because he is so very, very flawed.
I'd be interested to know whether Liverpool fans still feel like defending him after a second season of wrangling to get away finally paid off?- badwolf