Luis Suarez is clearly enemy number one with referees. Anything mildly controversial is picked up on, whether he goes down slightly theatrically, or wins a penalty, or even makes a challenge. Over the last month, the media and referees have harshly treated Suarez in my opinion. This is the case for Luis Suarez.
I want to first think about the Merseyside derby a couple of months ago that ended 3-3. Luis Suarez was on the receiving end of a horror tackle from Kevin Mirallas. His studs went straight into Suarez’s leg causing him to bleed. This tackle was one of the most blatant red cards this season, but he was only punished with a yellow card. Funnily enough in the corresponding fixture last season, Suarez scored a last minute winner against Everton and it was ruled out as offside from the linesman, even though he was clearly onside. These are two decisions in the same fixture two years running that have cost Liverpool 3 points. Both incidents involved the harshly treated Luis Suarez.
If we take it back to the Manchester City fixture on New Years Day, the officials had an off day – to put it mildly. So bad were the decisions that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made a personal attack on the officials and received a retrospective fine as a result of his comments. The worst decision in the game was when Suarez played Raheem Sterling through on goal, and the goal was given offside, even though Sterling was at least three yards onside.
So bad were the decisions that Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers made a personal attack on the officials
Suarez played the through ball, and whilst the linesman didn’t give offside because it was Suarez, he was certainly involved in the play. In that game also, City defender Joleon Lescott went straight through the back of him with his knee on the edge of the area and nothing was given. Then finally in the last minutes of the game, Lescott dragged Suarez down so blatantly in the box, people in outer space could have spotted the foul. So that is three incidents in this game where the officials gave Suarez absolutely nothing. He was actually persecuted for going down too theatrically when he was clearly fouled.
Now we should look back to the Chelsea game at Stamford Bridge, where Samuel Eto’o was not punished for a studs up challenge in the first minutes of the game on Jordan Henderson. It was a shocking challenge and one that all pundits believed should have been a red card. Later in the same game, Suarez was blatantly tripped by Eto’o in the penalty area, with Howard Webb staring at the incident – nothing was given once again. This foul was so clear that even Chelsea fans after the game were counting their lucky stars that the penalty wasn’t given.
Once again the referee gave Suarez nothing. To makes matters worse, Mourinho came out after the game, called Suarez a diver and slated the amount of ex-Liverpool players that are pundits. He took the emphasis off Eto’o’s terrible tackle and blatant foul, causing the media to focus once again on Suarez’s diving and theatricality when being fouled. This is more clear evidence that Suarez’s reputation is the reason for the referee’s ignorance.
More recently, Suarez has become the centre of controversy once again this weekend. He took the ball round Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan, was clipped by Guzan’s knee, and so went down. As pundits Shearer, Lineker and Murphy all said on Match Of The Day, any striker in their right mind would go down under a challenge from the opposition’s goalkeeper. It is simply the fact that it is Luis Suarez that we are still talking about whether it was a dive and whether he went down too theatrically. In the last month, after Mourinho’s comments, Oscar and Ramires have both been booked for diving, yet the media chooses to focus on Suarez, even though it was a penalty.
As pundits Shearer, Lineker and Murphy all said on Match Of The Day, any striker in their right mind would go down under a challenge from the opposition’s goalkeeper.
What people also are failing to emphasise from this weekend’s fixture against Aston Villa, is that Ciaran Clark kneed Suarez in the thigh off the ball. He went down and nothing was given, even though replays clearly showed that he was fouled. Bacuna then elbowed him in the head in a wild challenge, yet nobody seems to be talking about this incident either.
Last weekend in Leeds United’s 6-0 defeat away to Sheffield Wednesday which was live on Sky Sports, the Leeds striker Matt Smith was sent off for going for a header with his arms up. Bacuna’s challenge was much worse than this, clearly elbowing Suarez in the side of his head. To make matters worse, the referee didn’t even stop play when Suarez was down with a head injury. This is not only unprofessional, but dangerous as well, because he could have been seriously hurt. Following this, in the second half, after Daniel Sturridge (who was being held by Bacuna) pushed Bacuna in the arm to move away from him, Bacuna then dived to the floor holding his face trying to persuade the referee to send off Sturridge.
This act of deceit was not even mentioned in any match analysis, or by the media. Bacuna was also lucky in the first half because he cleared a Gerrard free kick out for a corner with his hand. So in this one game, the referee failed to give Suarez a free kick on two occasions, and gave nothing against Bacuna who could have given away a penalty, could have been sent off for an elbow on Suarez, and then dived to the floor attempting to get Sturridge sent off over nothing. The referee gave the penalty, which he had every right to do, and yet people are focusing on the issue of diving, because of Suarez’s past reputation.
I for one am sick of referees being so harsh on Luis Suarez. The man has served his punishments for his past errors and is clearly making a conscious effort to improve in his behaviour. I can’t remember the last time he dived, or made a bad challenge, or did anything controversial since the Ivanovic biting incident.
Stop persecuting him and start being grateful that we get to watch such an incredible talent every week.
Can’t we just appreciate that at the moment, we have the best player in the world playing in the Premier League, and enjoy him rather than force him out of the league due to unfair treatment by referees and the media. I have shown that he has been on the wrong end of seven blatant decisions over the past couple of months that referees have all got wrong. Even yesterday, when the penalty decision was right, he still has made the back pages of all the newspapers, as the subject of accusation because he is an easy target. Stop persecuting him and start being grateful that we get to watch such an incredible talent every week.
Images courtesy of telegraph.co.uk