Liverpool and Luis Suarez have been angered by the Football Association’s decision to hand the Uruguayan striker a significant 10-match ban following his bite on Branislav Ivanovic last weekend. In the view of many of the Reds’ passionate supporters, the punishment handed to their star forward this week was harsh, but some neutrals have suggested that the length of Suarez’s ban is appropriate given his previous disciplinary issues.
The argument about whether Suarez should have received such a ban will rumble on for many months to come, but while the severity of the punishment will continue to make the headlines, Liverpool may now perhaps decide to focus solely on giving their top-scorer the help he needs to curb his temper, particularly if he is to have a future at the club.
Suarez was previously punished for biting an opponent while he was playing in Holland. The former Ajax star was banned for seven matches following that incident, yet he repeated the action against Chelsea at the weekend. It appears as though the previous ban did not help to improve Suarez’s behaviour, so what are the chances that this longer ban handed out by the FA will teach the Liverpool player a lesson?
There is no doubt that the FA were correct to dish out some sort of punishment to the striker, but it seems as though that was their only concern. In such instances, a punishment, coupled with some form of help to prevent the player from repeating his actions would perhaps be of more use. Many will suggest that the responsibility for this should be shouldered by the club.
Indeed, should Suarez stay on Merseyside, then Liverpool would benefit the most in trying to reform the character of an outstanding player who appears in need of help. Psychiatrist Doctor Steve Peters, who works for the club, has been mentioned as a possible person to speak to and support the striker, while anger management classes have also been suggested in recent days. These would be steps in the right direction.
But Liverpool fans will be concerned at the number of clubs Suarez is being linked to on a regular basis, particularly since the recent incident. The national media are reporting that the Uruguayan may consider leaving England following the punishment handed out by the FA and Brendan Rodgers also indicated that he would understand if Suarez felt like moving to a different league.
Such suggestions are worrying for the Reds, who have relied single-handedly on Suarez to find the net at times this season. For now, at least, whether he stays or goes is of little importance. What is important is that Suarez gets the help he needs to improve his behaviour on the field. It could benefit both parties in the long run.
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