World Cup

Friday 1 August 2014

Alan Hansen: Liverpool will do everything they can to hold onto Luis Suarez

Alan Hansen

Published 27/06/2014|09:15

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Brendan Rodgers is looking forward to Champions League nights at Anfield
Brendan Rodgers will have to stand by Luis Suarez again if he stays at Anfield
A Uruguay's fan shows a sign in solidarity with player Luis Suarez while waiting for his arrival outside Montevideo's Carrasco international airport June 26, 2014. Suarez was hit with the longest ban imposed at a World Cup on Thursday as FIFA threw the book at one of soccer's most talented but controversial players for biting an opponent. Suarez was suspended from all football-related activity for four months by the sport's governing body which also ruled he could not play in Uruguay's next nine competitive games, immediately ending his involvement in the World Cup in Brazil.  Sign reads "FIFA corrupt - Luis, we love and back you".    REUTERS/Carlos Pazos (URUGUAY - Tags: SOCIETY SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)
A Uruguay's fan shows a sign in solidarity with player Luis Suarez while waiting for his arrival outside Montevideo's Carrasco international airport

The only good news for Liverpool following Luis Suárez’s latest severe penalty for biting an opponent is that the length of his suspension makes it impossible for him to leave Anfield this summer.

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There is little else for anybody at the club to be happy about, though, because Suárez has undoubtedly taken himself back to square one by biting Giorgio Chiellini and undone all the good work he had achieved by rehabilitating himself last season following the Branislav Ivanovic incident.

Some may believe that Liverpool should sell him anyway due to the potential damage of being associated with the player, but football is not like that.

The reality is that more allowances are made for players when they are as talented as Suárez and, if there is a line that cannot be crossed, I really do not know where it is for world-class players of his ilk.

If a £100,000 journeyman player had done something similar, he would have been out of the door without a second thought.

But the rules are different for £100 million players and you can bet that Real Madrid or Barcelona would sign Suárez tomorrow if Liverpool decided to get rid on the back of the incident with Chiellini.

Football is littered with players who have shocked the game by their actions, but history shows that clubs will always stand by them if they are match-winners.

Manchester United would never have considered selling Eric Cantona after he jumped into the crowd at Crystal Palace and I cannot imagine that Liverpool will, for one second, contemplate washing their hands of Suárez.

They stood by him after Ivanovic, but Suárez is now worth even more to Liverpool, so it will not even enter their minds to cast aside their most valuable asset.

They will give him one last chance, again, because Brendan Rodgers and the Liverpool owners will know that any prospects they have of winning the Premier League next season will be gone if Suárez leaves.

So they will once again attempt to bring him back into the fold, even though there is every chance he will cite the hostility he will now receive in England as a means to force a move elsewhere.

But after being suspended from all football for four months, there is little chance of a foreign club willing to invest the huge sum it would take to sign him if he cannot play until November.

The incident with Chiellini during Uruguay’s game against Italy defied belief, though.

I am staggered that Suárez has done this again. When he bit Ivanovic, that was the second time he had done it, so everyone thought that there was absolutely no chance of it happening again.

But there is clearly a major flaw in Suárez’s make-up. This is so far out of the ordinary, so inexplicable, that nobody can now say with any confidence that it will not happen a fourth time.

The hardest thing to understand is why he chose to attack Chiellini after little or no provocation.

There can be no justification for what he did, but if Chiellini had been niggling at Suárez and winding him up, then you could at least identify the trigger to Suárez’s actions.

But there was nothing and that is the worrying thing.

He will also surely have known that he would not get away with it, yet he still did it.

Nothing is missed by the cameras nowadays and, as a footballer of his standing, somebody who is never far from the spotlight, he should have been totally aware of that.

Modern day football is nothing like the time when I played and all sorts of things would happen off the ball and go unnoticed.

I recall a game for Liverpool at Leeds when Mark Lawrenson was punched by an opponent when the referee was looking the other way.

Bruce Grobbelaar had kicked a long ball forward and, with the play down field, Lawro was floored by a whack to the head.

Nobody saw it, so you just got on with it, but that could never happen now.

Opponents will always try to gain an advantage and dirty tricks can come into it, but I have to admit that, during my career, I played against South American teams on numerous occasions and I didn’t experience the cynical side of the game against they are supposedly notorious for.

So you cannot use a different culture in South America as mitigation for what Suárez has done. Nobody else has done it, but he has done it three times.

Fifa have certainly hit him hard and nobody can accuse them of taking the soft approach on this.

Had Suárez just been given an international suspension, he would have been a very lucky boy, but Fifa have gone much further with the four-month worldwide ban.

I suspect Fifa may have felt they had to get tough because they are having to deal with so much negative press off the field in relation to the Qatar World Cup bid.

Fifa could not afford to give their critics more ammunition by taking the easy option on Suárez, but nobody can argue with their decision.

It is now up to Liverpool and Suárez, however, to somehow find a way to overcome this and start again.

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