Liverpool, Luis Suarez, and just about everybody watching whether fan, foe, or neutral expected a ban to be handed down by the English Football Association following the Uruguayan striker's attempt to take a bite out of Branislav Ivanovic on Sunday afternoon. Everybody watching expected a swift decision, and for Suarez to miss at least the remainder of the season.
Few, though, even those most wanting to see Saurez receive heavy punishment, realistically expected the ten-match ban that in the end was meted out on Wednesday, when the FA sought to send a swift, harsh message to a repeat offender with a punishment that at least in isolation seems to far exceed a crime more shocking than dangerous.
"Both the club and player are shocked and disappointed at the severity of today's Independent Regulatory Commission decision," read a club statement immediately following the FA's decision. "We await the written reasons tomorrow before making any further comment."
With the FA stating that the automatic three-match ban for violent conduct would be considered insufficient for the incident in question when they undertook proceedings, any punishment was always going to at least cover the current season's four remaining games. There were also suggestions that, having accepted Suarez was in the wrong, Liverpool would not contest any punishment they considered reasonable.
Now, however, there are doubts, though any decision as to where the club and player go next will have to wait until tomorrow when the FA's written statement detailing the reasoning behind their decision is released. But the early signs are that the club do not consider ten games a reasonable punishment, raising the possibility they could risk a media backlash by challenging the ruling.