You’ve gotta love football. It’s the only sport in the world where one week you’re saying, “WOAH!! Dude!! That guy punched a horse!!!” One week later you’re saying this: “WOAH!! Dude!! That guy bit that other guy on the arm!!”
Before we inevitably come back to the biting incident, I’ll have to pay homage to a game of football which was largely forgettable. The first half was scrappy, neither team dominated in the truest meaning of the term. Oscar popped Chelsea ahead from a corner, losing Jamie Carragher at the near post and heading past Pepe Reina. For their 1-0 lead however, Chelsea had hardly ripped up any trees in open play and Liverpool themselves were poor going forward. My own desperation to get this paragraph finished so I never have to mention the first half ever again, pays testament to how average a standard the first half was played at.
After the break, Liverpool emerged a different beast, spurred on by the substitution of Daniel Sturridge for Phillipe Coutinho. Within two minutes, Sturridge had slipped Steven Gerrard through one on one with Petr Cech, only for Gerrard to be denied by the outstretched leg of Cech. Moments later, Sturridge hammered the post with a shot from all of 25 yards. That period of play seriously galvanised Anfield and there was a buzz growing that Liverpool were about to score.
Liverpool supporters didn’t have to wait long before they got what they expected. Stewart Downing flicked a pass to Luis Suarez, who sent the ball on first time to Sturridge in the penalty area and the ex-Chelsea forward side-footed home with his left foot. It was a wonderful goal and the pass from Suarez to set up Sturridge was world class. To release a first time pass with that kind of precision is excellent and showcases one of the many reasons that Suarez is up for nomination in the PFA Player of the Year awards.
It isn’t a Liverpool match without them making lives difficult for themselves. Suarez handled the ball inside his own area, Kevin Friend pointed to the spot and Eden Hazard stepped up, ignored taunts from Liverpool players and sent Reina the wrong way to give Chelsea the lead, just five minutes after Liverpool had equalised.
I can’t recall Chelsea creating any great chances after that penalty, as Liverpool ramped up the pressure for an equaliser. Jonjo Shelvey was guilty of missing an outstanding chance to equalise and was then bore the brunt of my anger when he fired over the bar from 25 yards with two minutes left.
Shooting from range with just a matter of minutes remaining, when you need to score a goal, is one of my biggest grievances in football. It is far more sensible to keep the ball moving around the penalty area when a goal is needed late on. The odds of scoring from range are obviously slimmer than they are from scoring inside the area. Top players don’t shoot from long range in such a circumstance. Jonjo Shelvey is not a top player and Liverpool need a lot better than the likes of him coming from the bench to salvage points. Expect him to be sold in the summer.
Like it isn’t a Liverpool match without them making their own life difficult, it’s also custom for Liverpool to produce a grandstand finish. It was the final attack of the match and the ball was with Steven Gerrard on the right wing. Gerrard picked his head up, spotted Suarez and threw a last, desperate long ball his way. Suarez managed to get his head on the ball and despite Petr Cech getting something on the Uruguayan’s effort, he couldn’t prevent the ball rippling the back of the net.
Not long after, the final whistle blew, the match ended 2-2 and everybody bar Branislav Ivanovic, who had bite marks on his arm went home happy.
So, now to the main premise of the article and why you’re all here: Luis Suarez’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic.
For me, it’s all very straight forward. Suarez has bit Ivanovic and there can be no excuses for that. You just don’t bite people, regardless of what sport you’re playing. It’s not arm to mouth, (could you imagine Suarez using that as an excuse?) there’s just no excuses for biting another person. Punishment is required. The FA will take retrospective action on the incident and Suarez should receive the same 7-match ban he received in Holland for doing the same thing to Otman Bakkal.
Internally, Liverpool should punish Suarez with a heavy fine for dragging the club through negative press (again) and as I write this, it’s half past eight on Sunday evening and if Liverpool haven’t released a club statement issuing an apology to Branislav Ivanovic by half nine, or at the latest, 1 o’clock Monday afternoon, then I’ll be very surprised. Don’t make any smoke and mirrors out of this, for what needs to happen is quite simple; Liverpool and The FA need to punish Suarez.
As for Liverpool selling Suarez, I don’t think it’s even something that needs discussing. Post-punishment, why would Liverpool need to sell Suarez? Manchester United stood by Eric Cantona after he kung-fu kicked a Crystal Palace supporter, so why should Liverpool sell a world class player for a bite? Giving away Luis Suarez because of something punishable by an internal fine is a drastic over-reaction.
Right, that’s all from me this morning.
See you tomorrow!