Suarez could be driven away - Comolli
Published 11/01/2013 | 15:55
Liverpool striker Luis Suarez could be driven away from the Barclays Premier League if he remains the focus of victimisation, according to former Reds director of football Damien Comolli.
Comolli brought the Uruguay striker to Anfield in January 2011 for a then club record £22.7m and Suarez has regularly hit the headlines for his goalscoring prowess as well as some more controversial incidents.
"I find it extremely hard to understand why people look at all the bad aspects and not how good the player is," Comolli told BBC Sport.
"It'll be an absolute shame for English football if this victimisation drives him away. As the biggest league in the world you want to keep the biggest players, not drive them away for crazy reasons. He is a fantastic individual and professional - totally committed to his club, team-mates and job. He'll give you everything, he's a winner.
"People need to be very careful what they say and stop criticising him. He's someone you'd want to go to war alongside. I don't think you can captain Ajax as a foreigner at 21 years of age if you're not a great individual."
Suarez is by far the Reds' top-scorer this season, having scored a total of 19 goals in all competitions, way outstripping Steven Gerrard and Jonjo Shelvey with five apiece. However, Suarez has also been at the centre of controversy, most memorably his eight-match ban for racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra.
He has also been accused of stamping and diving while his handball helped Liverpool beat Mansfield in Sunday's FA Cup match.
Manager Brendan Rodgers believes Suarez thrives on the abuse and criticism he receives and insists he would not swap him for Manchester United's Robin van Persie. The Barclays Premier League's two leading scorers go head-to-head on Sunday at Old Trafford and Suarez is certain to receive a hostile reception.
"His mental fitness is very strong," said the Reds boss. "He is a player who, like most top players, can cope mentally and you have to because of the pressures they put on themselves to perform and the pressures of playing for a big club.
"But I think he has been admirable. He has never come in here any day not smiling and working hard. Like with all the players I always spend the time to make sure he is in a good way not just on the field but off it and he has been no different. If anything he thrives on it and it gives him a greater motivation and I think everyone has seen that since he has been here."