LFC TOTW – Luis Suarez

12/12/2011 – Email exchanges between three LFC Boston Fans that have nothing better to do with their time.
This week’s Topic of the Week is none other than the controversial, contentious, but still loveable Luis Suarez. He’s had a very lively start to the season, both on and off the pitch. Tallying 5 Premier League goals in the opening months of the season, Suarez’s immediate future never looked brighter. However, his performances began to decline following his racism-rift with Manchester United fullback Patrice Evra. Suarez took a run of 7 Premier League games without a league goal to Craven Cottage, where he caused further controversy after he showed the Fulham fans the big “f*** you.” All of this aside, the Uruguayan continues to terrorize defenders and be the focal point of our stagnate offense. So, that leaves us to consider a few things: 1) Is Suarez a victim because he is easy to hate, 2) Is his behavior detrimental to Liverpool and their progress as a team,  and 3) Will he continue to improve on his already sensational ability? Please weigh in.

Jimmy K:  I’m hoping someone else can play devil’s advocate in this debate, because I’ve decided it is impossible for me to have any negative feelings toward Luis Suarez. In my eyes, he can do no wrong. However, my one major concern is how all of this off the field attention is affecting his on the field performances. It is hard to ignore that ever since the incident with Evra and the subsequent media shit storm, his quality has dipped slightly – including a run of 7 games without a Premier League goal. That is not to say Suarez did not contribute. His mere presence alone terrorizes defenses. Yet, you can’t help but think if all of this negative attention is getting to him. His goal against QPR is a great start to what we all hope will be an abundance of goals over these next few very winnable games. Thoughts?

AA:  Allow me to put my devil horns on here. I love Luis Suarez. I love his game, I love his passion, I love his overbite. You name it, I love it. But I don’t think #7 is completely blameless in all that has transpired.  The fact of the matter is he goes to ground waaaay too easy. And while he may have bought a few undeserved calls last year, the refs aren’t buying it anymore. The more they swallow the whistle, the more frustrated he gets and the more opposing fans ride him. This brings out the Dark Side. Let’s not lose sight of the fact that when we made our move for the “Wee Lad” last transfer window he was coming off a 9 game ban (Jim- feel free to fact check that, writing while on the crapper so can’t Google) for BITING an opposing player. Not punching, not kicking, not kneeing, or pulling hair. He was suspended for doing something that even MMA prohibits! Clearly, he is no angel and clearly we could have big problems if he doesn’t learn to control his emotions.

Jimmy K:  Anthony,  I agree with everything you’ve said. He is no angel, his emotions get the best of him, he has a large bullseye on his back, and his actions could be detrimental. But yet, it appears we’re both still saying the same thing (correct me if I’m wrong): We absolutely love him, it would take a lot for us to hate him, but he has the potential of being very detrimental to the team.  It’s scenarios like this that I take comfort in the fact that Kenny Dalglish is our coach. Unlike the stone-cold Rafa Benitez, Dalglish is a player’s coach giving him a better opportunity to teach Luis Suarez the ins and outs of his role. For example, Kenny isn’t one to tell him “Hey, stop diving and complaining to the referee because people hate it” because he know that’s how Suarez is. However, he can still teach him how to tone it down a bit, use his emotions in a positive way, and ultimately still score dozens of goals.

Pankin:  There are certain leagues and countries where trying to influence the referee’s decision is part of the culture, and Luis Suarez is a product of at least one of these such nations being from Uruguay.  Not to take anything away from Uruguain football, I am simply saying that an attempt to gain a call in your favor seems to be a larger part of how the game is played.  In England and the EPL, this tactic is not part of the game to nearly the same degree.  Many players look down on the act as taking away from the credibility of the game, and Luis Suarez, being who he is and learning the game the way he did, is falling victim to criticism from those on the other side of the argument.

I think it is Suarez who is in the wrong here, and it is Suarez who must adapt to the culture in which he now finds himself.  I think the pattern of trying to gain a call or influence a decision has gotten him to a point where he now gets no calls, even the ones he deserves.  As his tendency to look for a call (I am trying my hardest not to say ‘dive’) continues, so does the downward spiral his credibility on the pitch is taking.  I think it is up to Suarez to adapt and begin to play the game the way the game is played in the EPL, because it is clear his situation and relationship with referees and opposing players is not going to improve, rather it will continue to deteriorate.

Please here me when I say I do love the man like he was my own son.

Follow Jimmy K on twitter: @jim_kostecki

Photo by Jimmy K – obviously