Liverpool are faced with a massive quandary over their star striker Luis Suarez and his lack of self-discipline following his biting of Branislav Ivanovic in their clash with Chelsea on Sunday.
Do they stand by their man or decide that enough is enough?
Liverpool will be under increased pressure to do more than just fine their star man but the incentive to do so is not particularly appetising for the club.
If the Reds were to come down heavily on Suarez they will risk alienating the player and perhaps force him out of the club to one of their many admiring rivals in European football.
There can be no argument that biting an opponent is a despicable act and another lapse in discipline for a player who has a mounting list of disciplinary problems. This must surely be Liverpool’s main headache. Suarez has been banned for a similar offence whilst playing for PSV in November 2010.
Liverpool, like every other club, have a duty to youngsters who live and breathe football and also the wider community by clamping down on incidents such as these. If they simply sit back and refuse to take any further action then they risk alienating the footballing world and their reputation could be further tarnished following on from their lack of judgement in Suarez’s clash with Patrice Evra previously in December 2011.
However, Liverpool must be looking at this from a selfish point of view as well. Suarez is their most prized asset and undoubtedly Liverpool want to build their side around him and the likes of Steven Gerrard.
They will want to attract high class players in the summer to further bolster the quality in the squad and the presence of Suarez will help that.
Liverpool may look to ban Suarez for the remainder of the season and show the FA and the wider footballing community that they will not tolerate this kind of behaviour.
To do this they will be losing their best players for games that will have no bearing on their season and will leave Suarez free to start next season with no further ban hanging over him.
Liverpool have already publicly admonished their striker and said they will fine him, and Suarez has been quick to apologise to everybody concerned via his official twitter account. On the face of it all these actions are good but how much is it a PR exercise to limit any further damage or punishment?
It's time for the FA to regain some credibility in terms of disciplinary matters and come down hard on any player who brings the game into disrepute. A fine will not hurt Suarez, nor any other player, due to the vast wages paid these days. However, a lengthy ban will hurt the club itself and perhaps affect chances of silverware which will make clubs treat these instances more seriously.
At the very least Suarez’s nomination for PFA Player of the Year should be withdrawn immediately. Suarez must be made an example of and if that means he no longer feels he can play in English football again then so be it.
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