Luis Suarez has been back in action for twenty-five minutes, and he's already lucky he hasn't been banned two or four or seventeen more times. In related news, the buildup to a match against Manchester United is always so very much fun…
* In amongst all the excitement over Kenny Dalglish reminding the world that the club never thought Suarez' ban was an entirely appropriate punishment, following Monday's match there was an even more ridiculous Suarez b-plot that popped up when Wayne Rooney hopped on Twitter to suggest that the Liverpool striker should be banned for his mis-timed kick to Scott Parker's midriff. This would be the same Wayne Rooney who most recently on the boot-on-opponent-violence front was seen having his three-match UEFA ban for intentionally lashing out at Montenegro's Miodrag Dzudovic argued down to two by the English FA. Unsurprisingly, most outlets that discussed the matter rather glossed over the hypocrisy, instead fully shining the spotlight on Suarez and gleefully speculating about retroactive red cards.
Writing for the Echo, John Aldridge didn't see it quite the same way:
I couldn’t believe it when I heard that Wayne Rooney had tweeted that Suarez should have been sent off. Rooney needs to focus on sorting out his own club before he worries about anyone else.
And I would have thought someone as reckless as Rooney would keep his thoughts to himself. After all, this is the player who blatantly booted an opponent up the backside playing for England last year and was deservedly sent off. The fact the FA managed to get his ban reduced from three games to two was a complete joke.
Rooney should count himself very lucky he’s even going to the Euros after what he did. What Suarez did was very different and it was never a red card.
Seems sensible on every front. Well, aside from that in the Echo it was published so that every sentence was its own paragraph. In any case, that—the sensible part, that is—surely means a three-match ban for violent conduct will be levied against Suarez seventeen minutes before kickoff on Saturday.
* Speaking of Suarez, Saturday, and Manchester United, the Liverpool striker is apparently vaguely aware that it will be his first match away from Anfield since his ban, potentially his first start since returning, and that it will likely see him going up against Patrice Evra who, if you hadn't heard, was involved in the incident leading to said ban. Or: Circus! And a circus atmosphere is about what Suarez expects to face come the weekend, though he's confident he can overcome anything going on in the background—or perhaps even use it to his advantage:
I know against Man United it is going to be tense because I'm going to face Evra. But I'm used to having fans whistle at me. I hope nothing unusual happens. I'll have to forget what happened for that moment.
I do know Man United fans are going to try to make me feel uncomfortable. But I have to tell them—they are going to spur me on if they whistle at me.
At the very least what's going on in the stands at Old Trafford should provide an interesting sideshow, though one would hope that aside from the expected garden variety vitriol United's fans don't too far exceed the one numpty to 45,000 supporters ratio on display at Anfield when the two sides met in the FA Cup in January.
* Back with Monday's match against Tottenham, and a chance to point anyone who missed it towards Zonal Marking's tactical review, which hit on a few points we haven't given much time to in the aftermath. There's Luka Modric's rather understated upstaging of Liverpool's midfield for the second match in a row, Craig Bellamy's easy to overlook defensive contributions, and perhaps most interestingly cause to question how Dalglish chose to set up his substitutes:
When Suarez did finally arrive, for Kuyt, it meant Gerrard going to the right and Suarez going upfront. Parker now had no-one to mark and moved to a deeper role where he excelled, chasing back to make last-ditch tackles and getting into good positions to clear. It might have been nice to see Suarez on in Kuyt’s role, with Gerrard still in the middle. Then, Gerrard could have taken Parker away from that zone, with Suarez coming inside from the flank as the ’second number ten’, a little like how Mesut Ozil played well at the Nou Camp recently with Kaka occupying Sergio Busquets. That isn’t Suarez’s natural role, of course, but that seemed to the area Tottenham were vulnerable in, and he is adaptable enough to play there.
I'm pretty sure that means that at the end of the day it's actually Kenny Dalglish's fault that Luis Suarez kicked Scott Parker, since if Gerrard had stayed central Tottenham's midfielder never would have ended up dropping into the back line to help cover Suarez. In fact, given his comments after the match, it was probably the plan all along. So I think what I'm trying to say is both Suarez and Dalglish deserve a retroactive ban for violent conduct. And also thoughtcrime and maybe loitering, since Dalglish in particular hangs around in one place for, like, ninety minutes on match day.
We'll be back later on with any breaking news, but in the meantime try not to let the controversy junkies in the media drive you over the edge…