In defence of Luis Suarez: Are Liverpool the real villains of the piece?

The Anfield club should stick to their promise of allowing a move since Champions League football was not achieved, with the striker not sulking but trying to get what is owed
By James Goldman

It is near impossible to feel any measure of sympathy for a character as fundamentally flawed as Luis Suarez.

To his substantial list of crimes the Uruguayan has now revealed himself as a man willing to accuse Liverpool, the club which has so manfully stood by him, more often than not to their detriment, of being liars and reneging on their promise to sell him.

Suarez cares not one bit for the public's perception of him - which is refreshing, to a degree, in an age where image is everything - and by using the British media, the very scoundrels who were supposedly driving him from these shores, to air his grievances he has invited ridicule and scorn.

No matter how dislikeable his antics render him, if his claims are legitimate, if his employers are contractually obliged to accept an offer, no matter how provocative, of £40,000,001 from Arsenal then Suarez, regardless of his previous misdemeanours, has every right to feel aggrieved and let down.

4/9 Luis Suarez is 4/9 with Coral to leave Liverpool this summer
All summer long Liverpool’s hierarchy have taken turns to deny their prize asset is for sale. The message from John W. Henry, Brendan Rodgers and Ian Ayre has been made abundantly clear - to borrow part of the American owner's now infamous tweet, they have all been smoking from the same pipe.

Suarez, though, claims he was told very much the opposite in the back rooms of Liverpool's training ground as far back as last summer, when - he claims - promises were made and the conditions of his departure set.

As such, his retaliation was in many ways inevitable. Liverpool should have been steeling themselves for this, it was a fight that was bound to turn nasty but why should Suarez be painted as the villain?

Unlike golden boy Gareth Bale there have been no suggestions of Suarez taking strike action nor, until recently, have there been any spurious injuries to conveniently spare him from the public glare.

Natural comparisons have been drawn between this particular saga and the one which dominated last summer’s transfer window when Arsenal sold Robin van Persie to Manchester United.

The boot is firmly on the other foot this time around but the cases are subtly different. Arsenal made no promises to their former skipper, there were no gentlemen's agreements.  The club were forced to sell out of financial necessity as a consequence of their own bungled internal contract negotiations.

Like Van Persie, however, Suarez has effectively rendered his position untenable by going public with his dissatisfaction, but there is no doubting the majority of his motives for wanting to leave are well reasoned.

You can question his moral fibre all you wish, but not his ability. Undoubtedly he is a player of Champions League quality and did more than anyone last season to try an engineer Liverpool into a position whereby they could challenge the north London duo for fourth place. That they could not was not a failing on his part.

At 26 he is at the peak of his powers and though Arsenal do not represent a significant upgrade, they are unquestionably better placed to challenge the Premier League’s elite, can offer Champions League football, a greater salary and, no matter how inconvenient to Liverpool, currently they represent his only escape route - and one he appears intent on taking.

Some will feel he owes Liverpool a greater debt of gratitude because they supported him while the Football Association threw the book at him for racially abusing Patrice Evra and biting Branislav Ivanovic.

Those offences mean that whichever club are lucky enough to boast his talents, will never fully be able to accept them to their hearts, but that does not mean he is indebted to Liverpool any more than Van Persie should have been to Arsene Wenger for turning him from a frail, fragile winger into the Premier League’s most dynamic striker.

It's not too long ago that Tottenham fans were taunting Harry Redknapp, ironically reminding him that Gareth Bale "plays on the left".  Under Andre Villas-Boas he has morphed into one of the most versatile and destructive forwards on the planet – where is the loyalty there? Put simply, it doesn’t exist.

Suarez, on this occasion, has been vilified for adopting the same tactics many of his peers would in an attempt to force through a move – only he might have more reason to do so than most.

Reasons to loathe this talented, but on occasion despicable, footballer are plentiful but in this instance, should his claims be substantiated, his actions are not those of a spoilt, disloyal brat but those of someone who feels he has been wronged.

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