In the two-and-a-half seasons he has been with the Liverpool FC, Luis Suarez has cut a controversial swath through the Premier League. His club have stood by him, for better or for worse, in good judgment and in bad, and at times it feels like so long as the player is within England's borders, the club can cocoon him in a nest of fan love and mutual affection that will keep all other suitors at bay.
While Liverpool never exactly come across as being able to control the player, there is a feeling that the club have finally found a way to at least to control the fallout from his more faith-testing moments. While he's in Liverpool, they can take swift action to craft a message, frame an argument, and position him best for moving on from the incident.
But football is a global game and multiple times a year Suarez leaves the confines of his club to regroup with the Uruguayan national team during international breaks. It's become commonplace for the striker to show a very candid side to the Uruguayan press, and subsequently it's become increasingly inevitable that something he'll say or do will be taken out of context, mistranslated, or otherwise turned into something panic-inducing for non-Spanish readers.
With Suarez and Uruguay participating in the Confederations Cup in June, manager Brendan Rodgers made sure to emphasize (again) that Liverpool love Luis Suarez, Luis Suarez loves Liverpool, and that the club have no intention to sell a player who is incredibly happy on Merseyside. Still, no matter how many matching tattoos or BFF necklaces Suarez and Rodgers might get to prove Suarez is here to stay, there is still the lurking fear of the striker's Uruguayan compatriots performing a casual bit of inception on the player to convince him to move to another club.
"You can’t control that, people getting into his ear while he’s away," Rodgers dismissed. "These are professionals, and Luis has got a tournament to play. But I can’t worry about that. I know [that we] as a club and me as a manager have supported him, told him when he’s been right and when he’s been wrong.
"He goes away now with a chance to reflect, plays in a tournament over the summer, and will join us after that. He will just get his head down and work, take his punishment and move on."
What Suarez gets up to in Brazil this summer is entirely outside of Rodgers' control, of course, but Rodgers hopes that the tournament will allow Suarez to do what he does best, without the negative things that sometimes come with his high performance moments.
"I think where he’s happiest is with his mates in the team or with his family," Rodgers added. "He just loves his football and I’m sure being away with Uruguay will give him a focus and concentration. Obviously he had a circumstance which made it extremely difficult for him [this season], but I’ve seen nothing to make me think anything other than he will want to stay."
Fingers crossed, Suarez will emerge on the other side of the tournament without having to explain away any poorly translated quotes that might cast doubt on his manager's faith in his commitment to the team.