Luis Suárez: Insatiable

by Cian O'Neill

Where to even begin with Luis Suárez. One of European football’s most controversial players in recent years, blessed with a jaw-dropping aptitude for his preferred sport.  Week-in week-out the Uruguayan talisman consistently has football fans all over the globe raving or raging about him, whether it be about his latest goal (which are usually top-drawer) or his most recent ‘dive’. Adored and idolised by the Anfield faithful, loathed and despised by almost everyone else, Suárez most certainly has his critics. He is a particularly outspoken individual, who will not hold anything back. If his mind is already made up, there is no convincing him otherwise. If he feels something needs to be said, he’ll be the first one to say it. Sort of reminiscent of Manchester United legend Roy Keane, he is an outspoken individual.

Although he may be subject to relentless abuse from opposing fans, Suárez  somehow musters up the willpower and strength to keep his chin up ,which is something that has to be admired. Never have I seen a player who could split opinions so easily, and his antics being the epicentre of most Liverpool-related arguments. He is a player who everyone would love to have in their team, but hate him if otherwise. But enough about Luis Suárez’ character, let’s move onto his attributes and ability as a player.

When the Ajax striker dubbed ‘El Pistolero’ signed for Liverpool in the January transfer window 2011, it was a signal of intent from Kenny Dalglish. He wanted to move the club forward, and what better way to do so than to sign one of the Dutch giants’ most prolific strikers in recent years. In the season 2009/2010 Suárez managed to rack up an astounding 49 goals in 48 games for Ajax. Decent? Suppose so. Messi-esque, Ronaldo-esque? Yes, yes it is. Although you do need to take into account the fact that the Eredivisie is nowhere near as competitive or difficult as the Premier League or Liga BBVA. He has always been known for his silky-smooth dribbling skills, and he often goes by players for fun. At times he can lack clinical finishing, but he more than makes up for it in his passion and desire for the game. Suárez got off to a dream start with Liverpool, netting in his first game for Liverpool against Stoke City after coming on as a substitute. From that day on, I don’t think that anyone knew just how crucial a player he would become for us.

During the rest of the 2010/2011 season, Luis Suárez provided a charismatic spark for Liverpool, chipping in with 4 goals and 5 assists in 13 league appearances. Not bad for a player who had not played for the best part of a month, due to serving a 7 match ban for biting an opposition player  in the Dutch League. Liverpool knew what they were getting when they bought the former Dutch player of the year for a fee of £22.8 million. A player with a lot of baggage. A player who was no stranger to controversy, often found at the centre of it. But he was also a player with serious potential, the potential to be one of the Premier League’s most feared strikers. The Uruguayan international has more than justified and repaid the hefty price tag that loomed over his head, both on and off the pitch.

The season of 2011/2012 held a lot of promise for Suárez, and most Liverpool fans were convinced that he would help steer our team towards a trophy of some sort, and he did just that, sometimes almost single-handedly. The first game of the season was at home to Sunderland. What seemed a straight-forward task at first glance, proved to be the story of our season. Luis Suárez missed an early penalty, but quickly made up for his mistake just minutes later. The first goal came after 12 minutes when Scottish playmaker Charlie Adam whipped in a peach of a free-kick. It found the head of none other than Luis Suarez, and we were off to a flyer. Or so we thought. Liverpool dominated large portions of the game, but just could not land the killer blow. Missed chances came back to haunt us, and we were punished for not wrapping the game up earlier when Seb Larsson scored a majestic scissors kick from a sublime cross via Ahmed Elmohamady. Games such as these have typified Liverpool FC over the last couple of years, dominating and then losing. You would think it’s our motto. Although Liverpool generally performed poorly in the league, they managed to find some sort of form in the Cups. We managed to win the Carling Cup, with many dazzling performances from Suárez along the way, while we also crashed out of the FA Cup final to Chelsea, a game where Andy Carroll tore The Pensioners to shreds for half an hour. Suárez may have led us to our first trohy since 2006, but a one man army is inevitably going to lose. But there was an event that had overshadowed the 2011/2012 season. The Suárez/Evra race row.

From the first minute of the highly anticipated clash between Liverpool and Manchester United, Suárez and Evra were in each others’ faces. Words were being exchanged, and strong, but not necessarily illegal, tackles were being made. In the 63th minute of the game, Evra and Suárez were having a little bit of a strop in the penalty area while awaiting a corner kick. Expletives were flying about, and the discrepancy escalated to such a point  where the referee had to intervene. Both players had cooled down, but the damage was already done. Manchester United reported an incident of racial abuse to the referee after the game. Suárez was later found guilty of ‘using racist language’ towards Patrice Evra. The South American talisman was banned for 8 games and subsequently fined £80,000 by The FA. But the FA never had any conclusive proof to back up their sanctioning of the punishment handed to the Uruguayan. All they had was ‘reason to believe’. Later on in the season, Chelsea’s John Terry was found guilty of the same crime and was dealt a much less significant fine of £120,000 and a 4 match ban. Why did Terry receive half the punishment of the Liverpool hit man? Because he was British. Simple as. This incident left a dark cloud over Liverpool Football Club, and their supporters were left feeling hard done by. Without Suárez, Liverpool looked like a group of children who had lost their father in an amusements park. Unfortunately, that amusements park was Anfield.

Suárez came back from suspension just in time for Liverpool’s game against – guess who – Manchester United. The stage was set for Suárez and Evra on this day. It was more about those two rather than the actual result. Suárez managed to grab himself a goal, but it was worthless. United ran out the victors 2-1. Liverpool finished the season 8th, their lowest finish since 1994. Luis Suárez bagged 17 goals in all competitions that season. A respectable figure, considering he endured a lengthy spell on the sidelines due to his suspension. The re-introduction of El Pistolero gave Liverpool a lift, but he could not impact the side enough to help them finish any higher than 8th. Suárez finished the season as one of the Premier League’s most talked about players, but for all the wrong reasons. The little magician finished his season with a bang, scoring a majestic hat-trick at Carrow Road in April, single-handedly pulverizing Norwich in the process. Since the beginning of the 2012/2013 season, Suárez has been a man on a mission.

With 13 goals to his name in only 20 appearances , he is in the form of his life. There has been much speculation about his future at the Merseyside club, but Suárez constantly assures us fans that he is not going anywhere. He was the first player in the Premier League to reach 10 goals, only 1 goal below his total tally in the league campaign last season. A solid improvement. In my most humblest of opinions, I feel that the Uruguay international is fast becoming a Merseyside, and Premier League legend, whose name will echo through the Kop for years to come. He’s already done it for previous clubs and his country, with 30 goals in 60 games for Uruguay. Why not continue on with his legacy in England. The unpredictable striker has finally been recognised as one of the world’s elite, being ranked 9th by Match Of The Day’s top 100 players list. That wouldn’t look too shabby an accolade to boast on your CV now, would it?

14 Responses

  1. Brad says:

    I am confused. Your bio clearly states that you’re an Arsenal fan but your article suggests that you support Liverpool, with a number of references to “us”.

    Have you got a reversible football kit?

    1. Cian O'Neill Cian O'Neill says:

      Wrong account and bio was picked mate, a reversible jersey would be nice though. Will definitely look into getting one. :)

    2. Steve Daman says:

      Hey brad, read the bio you silly sausage! It says he’s a Liverpool fan! Have you got a removable brain?

  2. Mark Godfrey says:

    Decent writing mate but i would like to comment about a couple of points.

    1. You skate over the biting incident almost without mention. I get it that you’re a fan of Suarez but that’s quite a thing to almost ignore.

    2. Suarez admitted calling Evra a “negrito” so the evidence spoke for itself, literally. The term, which can be used affectionately in South America, is also offensive when used in a different context. Let’s say a context when two heated footballers are exchanging insults and unpleasantries as you yourself pointed out. I’m sure this gave the FA “reason to believe” the word was used as a racial slur. Check the word ‘negrito’. It means ‘little black man’ if translated basically, but for actual meaning it essentially means ‘Gollywog’ (remember the little cartoon figure on the marmalade jars that were banned for racist connotations?)or ‘pickaniny’ in English. I wouldn’t fancy your chances if you went up to a black guy and called him that, would you?

    1. Mark Godfrey says:

      3. You referred to yourself as an Arsenal fan (biog since changed)and then refer on several occasions to ‘us’ when discussing Suarez. If you’re a Liverpool fan why hide it?

      4. You suggest Suarez is becoming a Premier League and Anfield legend. A bit much on the hyperbole don’t you think? Premier League legend because he’s had a good 3 months. By that reckoning Michael Ricketts is a legend. And an Anfield legend? Considering the names that went before him that’s a bold claim to say the least.

      5. Perhaps you’re on a wind-up

      1. Ian says:

        While it’s true that it was offensive, and maybe racist language, the point is the intent. Suarez was not being racist.

        Negrito isn’t just a term of endearment, it’s a term of endearment used regardless of race.

        It’s abusive language, but totally pointless to ban someone or even insist that they’re racist because of use like that.

        Even the ridiculous FA in their concluding remarks about the ban stated that they believed that Luis Suarez wasn’t racist.

        What a joke.

        1. Mark Godfrey says:

          I agree the FA are a joke, no arguments there Ian, but whether or not you believe Suarez is a racist by nature, he used racially abusive language to a player of the race that the language specifically relates to, in a context where it was being directed as an insult. Therefore it can only be construed as racially abusive behaviour.Say that word toa white man and it’s an irrelevant gesture, but say it to a person of that ethnicity and everything changes as it would if you used the ‘N’ word to a white guy or black guy. Suarez has spent enough time in racially diverse countries like Holland and the UK to know the difference. The incessant and insistent Kopite mantra over this should just end. Suarez was not the victim in this incident. He was guilty and was punished accordingly. Had he and LFC behaved with dignity during the whole affair they wouldn’t have lost the respect from the football world they did. As i’ve said before on here, excellent player, shithouse of a man.

  3. Cian O'Neill Cian O Neill says:

    Sorry Mark,

    The website picked the profile of ‘Cillian O’ Neill’ not myself, Cian O’ Neill. So that’s why I say ‘us’ as I’m a Liverpool fan, not trying to hide it. And I think it’s fair to say that Suarez has more or less established himself as one of Liverpool’s best players I recent years, taking the mantle from an already lengendary figure Gerrard.
    And he’s also been good for longer than 3 months, pivotal in Liverpool’s carling Cup success and much more.
    I also said he is fast ‘becoming’ a legend, not already one. Thanks for the feedback though Mark

    1. Mark Godfrey says:

      No worries Cillian…i mean Cian!! I think he’s got a fair way to go to be a legend mind you.

  4. Nicolas Lopez says:

    The usual assertion that Suarez is loved by LFC fans and hated by the “rest” could honestly not be further from the truth. I’m originally from South America, and he’s one of the few players that’s universally loved by even opposing fans. That’s a continent of 400+ million people. As for “neutrals” (IE: Non Premier League fans), I maybe know 1 person who dislikes him while most people I’ve spoken to in North America a) love his unique desire/passion, the entertainment he provides on the football pitch (good or bad) , and b) feel strongly that the FA case was a stitch up, and made them look worse, ironically.

    I just had to point it out. It’s almost too easy, if not lazy, to try to paint this issue as a “black and white”, romantic: “Luis vs. the World” silliness. When in fact, he’s quite liked (outside of Ghana of course lol)

    1. Cian O'Neill Cian O'Neill says:

      I understand your point, mistake on my part not including Uruguayan fans love for him as that’s a no-brainer but I was referring to the vast majority of Premier League regulars, and I strongly feel that in England, he is despised by all but LFC fans. He thrives on it though, which is great to see.

  5. Nicolas Lopez says:

    One other thing, Luis Suarez is probably the most impressive international footballer since the Brazilian Ronaldo. And easily the best to play for Liverpool, many in the history of the game. His record has blown Rooney’s, Messi’s, Ronaldo’s out of the water, and he’s only 25. Incredible.

    - 2010 FIFA World Cup 4th place (carried Uruguay, more than Forlan IMO and I’ve rewatched his games).
    - IMO was one of the Top 3-4 players of the tournament.
    - 2011 Copa America Champion, giving Uruguay their record breaking 15th title.
    - 2011 Copa America= Best player award – outplaying legends in the making: Messi, Neymar, and Falcao on every level. Truly outstanding.
    - Current Top Scorer of the South American qualifiers, and averages “9, 10″ performances, which is basically on par with Maradona. Even Messi averages “6″, with a “9″ maybe every 4-5 games.

    There’s no contest. The kid is a legend in the making.

  6. Nicolas Lopez says:

    BTW, this isn’t a criticism of your article on any way, I was talking about “in general”. I really enjoyed your article man.

    1. Cian O'Neill Cian O'Neill says:

      Thanks mate nice to get feedback. I agree with you on his performances for Uruguay, if I’m correct he’s only 3 goals off forlan who is top scorer, and he will surely surpass that record. 30 goals in 60 internationals is also an amazing record to boast.

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