Wednesday 21 February 2018

Alan Hansen: Suarez has let everyone down - especially Kenny

Luis Suarez. Photo: Getty Images
Luis Suarez. Photo: Getty Images

For Luis Suarez to let Liverpool down so badly by refusing to shake Patrice Evra's hand on Saturday, after the unequivocal support he has received from the club in recent months, was quite simply incomprehensible.

What is so disappointing for Liverpool and Kenny Dalglish is that they have taken so much flak -- Kenny in particular -- for backing Suarez, yet when it comes to the crunch and he is asked to shake Evra's hand but doesn't, it is obvious that the club and the manager are going to feel let down.

Liverpool were totally right to respond with strongly worded statements from Dalglish and managing director Ian Ayre following Suarez's apology yesterday.

Manchester United should also be applauded for the swift and gracious acceptance, and wording, of their subsequent statement, urging everybody to move on. Hopefully, Evra will also come out and with a similar statement so that we can all draw a line under this.

It has been a bad time for the two clubs and the Premier League, but the actions of Liverpool and United yesterday showed that everybody is now determined to move forward in the correct manner.

Quite simply, Manchester United versus Liverpool is the biggest game that the Premier League has got, they are the two biggest and most successful clubs around, so none of this has been good for either club or the league itself.

There is no doubt that Suarez caused a real problem for the club with his actions at Old Trafford. It was a massive mistake on his part and he was stupid to do it.

Last week, Suarez was asked by the club whether he would be okay with shaking Evra's hand and if he would do it and the answer he gave was yes. So for Suarez to then change his mind -- whether it was pre-meditated or a spur-of-the-moment decision -- was the worst thing he could have done.

Kenny has really backed him to the hilt in recent months and he even did so after the game on Saturday, without realising what had gone on prior to the match.

Knowing Kenny as I do, I can tell you that he is a very strong and single-minded individual, with his focus fixed categorically on doing what is best for Liverpool.

So the fact that he has come out and said that he did not conduct himself in a way befitting a Liverpool manager following the United game, saying he was wrong with what he said in his post-match interview, shows how much the Suarez incident has hurt Kenny and the club.

Prior to the match, both clubs had taken strides to ease hostilities and if Suarez had shaken Evra's hand, the situation would have been much better already.

Suarez is not the first man in English football to court such controversy and generate such negative headlines, however, and he is unlikely to be the last.

The English game is littered with cases of star players being involved in major disciplinary issues that have not helped the image of their club or the Premier League.

More often than not, those players have not been sacked or sold but have remained at their clubs, and that is largely because nobody wants to lose their best players, regardless of the baggage they bring.

Suarez now has to make sure that, from this point on, we are only talking about his football and the good things he brings to Liverpool and the Premier League.

He is such a good player, one who brings so much quality to the Liverpool team, that there is no way that the club will get rid of him. What has happened this weekend has brought an unwanted spotlight on Suarez and Liverpool, but it really is time to move on.

Three statements issued by the club in one day, from the player, manager and managing director, is a sign that the people involved have done what was needed to be done.

Liverpool could not allow this to drag on any further because it was beginning to appear as though the whole world was against the club.

The hope now is that the controversy will begin to go away and everybody can get back to concentrating on football. If Suarez had shaken Evra's hand, that process would be well under way already. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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