My heart really goes out to long-suffering Liverpool supporters.
Not only do they have to put up with Manchester United’s dominance of the Barclay’s Premiership, but when they actually signed a good player such as Luis Suarez, he turned out to be more trouble than he’s worth!
But we should remember that Suarez arrived in the Premiership just after serving a ban for biting (yes, he’s done it before) on PSV Eindhoven’s Otman Bakkal.
That was quickly forgotten as Suarez quickly adjusted to his new surroundings and showed just what a good player he was.
There were some signs of petulance before the Patrice Evra incident which landed not just Suarez but Liverpool in the dock in the “court of public opinion.”
For a lesser player it could possibly have spelt the end of his Liverpool career but when you are the best player in the squad the rules (even on decency) tend to get bent to accommodate.
Liverpool stood firmly behind their player and so did the bulk of the supporters (although clearly many had their doubts).
In fact, Kenny Dalglish’s public support for Suarez was, in the end, one of the reasons for his removal as team boss.
After serving his sentence things returned to normal for a while until the famous, or should that be infamous, incident with Chelsea’s Bratislav Ivanovich (yes, he was back biting again)!
That particular incident continues to intrigue me as there was no trigger for the attack and some have even suggested that it was a planned act to get Suarez out of his contract on Merseyside.
There is, of course, no evidence for that claim, but it left Liverpool fans once again scratching their heads in dismay at the shameful antics of their star striker.
The FA’s punishment may have seemed particularly harsh but Liverpool fans - and the club in particular - were again wondering was the loss of principle and decency worth paying for such an exquisite talent?
To be fair to Liverpool they are not the first big club to find themselves in such a position. The likes of Eric Cantona and Roy Keane have, in the past, posed the same questions of principle for Manchester United fans.
I could also mention one Joey Barton, but the difference here was that Cantona and Keane could play!
It’s easy to criticise a hero in the pub or before a match, but if he’s out there doing the business on the field of play then any controversy tends to be forgiven.
But the morality rules are significantly different in real life and in sport. The problem though is that if your best player isn’t available for large chunks of the season for behaviour verging on the immoral, then fans begin to resent their hero.
This particular ‘hero’ having enjoyed the fans’ and club’s support throughout his antics has now repaid them by publically declaring he would love to play for Real Madrid!
If his attempts to sell himself don’t succeed, can the long suffering “reds” fans really welcome him back to the Anfield fold? Magnificent player though he is, it just might be a step too far.