He is energetic, sharp and a good finisher. He is the footballing artful dodger. As Liverpool’s main man for three seasons running, his scoring prowess and all round work ethic is becoming increasingly valuable for the football club. Mix it up with his overall cheeky character, and you get great football viewing. The last footballer in the Premier League to be crowned with the ‘marmite’ tag was Cristiano Ronaldo. A master of all trades and arguably the world’s best footballer in the world, his skill and technique are unique. During his career at Manchester United, his air of arrogance, diving and showboating skills however, made him a less likeable figure.
Similarly, despite Suarez’s brilliant run of form so far this season (10 goals in 12 appearances in the league), his antics on the pitch seem to be overshadowing his solid footballing displays. As a Liverpool supporter, there is admiration through and through of course. Yet recent accusations of diving, stamping on players and annoying managers through goal celebrations, are making the news more so than his significant contribution to Liverpool’s 10 match unbeaten run. An alleged stamp on Everton’s Distin went unnoticed and unpunished in the Merseyside derby. Only yesterday, Wigan’s manager Martinez accused Suarez of stamping on player David Jones saying that it wasn’t the sign of a good player.
Is it time for managers to educate their most important world-class players, on how to exhibit sportsmanship? Or should it be left for them to learn the lessons by facing match bans, fines and football fans’ abuse?
Whatever the right answer, there is no denying that it makes the sport a more exciting watch. If that results in Liverpool grabbing a fourth place finish, what a story that would be.