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Suarez Booking a Result of "Passion"

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Freshly off a one-match ban incurred for receiving five yellow cards, four of which came early in the season, Luis Suarez picked up a booking yesterday for dissent, which manager Brendan Rodgers attributed to passion rather than petulance.

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Clive Brunskill

The drive and commitment of Luis Suarez is evident from first minute to last pretty much anytime the Uruguayan is on the pitch, and while he was mostly anonymous yesterday, his work rate continued to be at a high level. What comes along with that is a blurring of the lines between emotion and petulance, and yesterday it boiled over to the tune of a yellow card in the 90th minute from referee Neil Swarbick.

It's hard to argue that it wasn't deserved--Suarez had been frustrated all match, unable to take the few chances he had and failing to break a scoreless streak that's now extended to six matches in all competitions. The offense was a familiar sight, with arms waving and plenty of shouting that was always going to lead to a yellow card for dissent. Swarbick was far from perfect on the day, but it seemed the right call after a number of incidents throughout the match.

Brendan Rodgers isn't too bothered by the incident, apparently, and he's content to chalk it up to the passion Suarez displays rather than some sort of ongoing problem in need of addressing:

"I didn't think he deserved to be booked. He had a couple of incidents that he protested about that went unpunished, to be fair - and then he was the one who was [punished].

"I would never take that passion out of his game. That's what makes him the player he is."

I'm of two minds here--I enjoy the commitment Luis Suarez displays, particularly in a Liverpool side that's been marked by stoicism and indifference far too often over the past few seasons. He's a lightning rod and a catalyst to drive the team forward, and when channeled in a manner that's productive, the passion Rodgers mentions can make Liverpool better.

It can also hurt them, though, and he's not doing himself any favors by continuing to lash out the way he's done so often. I'm not sure what other choice referees have; it's clear that Suarez is going to keep going until he's punished, which was the case yesterday. He's at his best when he's mischievous without completely losing his mind, and yesterday he crossed over into the latter.

Passion's wonderful, and there's no disagreement that Luis Suarez has buckets of it. But when it hurts him and the squad, there needs to be a point at which that passion is displayed in a different manner.