I guess there is very little point in moaning about the latest attempt to knock Luis Suarez into ground until all you can see is the top of his jet black hair.
The latest blow is a one game ban and a £20k fine for raising his finger at Fulham fans at the end of our match against them the other week. We, in addition to Suarez’s fine, also received a bill for £20,000 for failing to control our players.
I don’t know what guidelines the FA have in determining fines for improper conduct but it makes me laugh when I log onto the BBC website and see a photo of Suarez at the moment of the “foul deed” with his offending hand pixelated out as if those delicate souls who surf the web need to protected from such filth!
I’m assuming the £20,000 fine relates to something that is a proportion of Suarez’s weekly wage (perhaps when authorities levy poll tax and the like they might take this sort of thing into account) but contrast this with the potential fine that John Terry could receive if found guilty of racist abuse. Because his case has been referred the Crown Prosecution Service Terry could find himself £2,500 light!
Of course it would be too much to ask, but it needs saying that surely there should be proportionate, fine thrown at Fulham for failing to control their fans. What are the FA rules on this? Do they take into account the issue of provocation when deciding the outcome of such cases or is that just too much effort for them?
What worries me is that Suarez seems to be the latest whipping boy of Premiership Football. Assuming the appeal against the racist comment(s) is turned down and Suarez has to take his medicine then what will happen when the inevitable chants of “racist” occur and Suarez reacts again, another £20,000 fine? The FA have created a self perpetuating problem, a monster they seem content on slapping him down to the extent that there is danger of him raising one more finger at them before going elsewhere! And if I were Liverpool I’d think twice about partaking in any FA initiative, be it a club level or involving our international players, now or in the future.
And so to today’s game against Newcastle and another of our so called bad boys Andy Carroll comes under scrutiny once more. No such attention for our other ex Magpie Jose Enrique as presumably he has done well with us since he joined so no story! The focus on Carroll, aside from the Newcastle thing, is presumably because Suarez is banned for this game, and possibly more if things don’t go our way, so fans will to look to him to fill in.
Kenny’s approach is to pour scorn on the attention, defend the player.
“Every week there’s questions about Andy Carroll… This time it’s understandable I suppose because he’s playing against Newcastle but I don’t understand the rest of the stuff. Someone has got some furtive imagination there about the lifestyle that big Andy leads compared to the one that we know he leads. For us, he’s come here and gone about his work very well on and off the pitch and he’s adjusted to life at a new club with new philosophies and a new way of playing.”
Despite this it is getting increasingly difficult to defend Carroll’s corner. He played a full game on Boxing Day against Blackburn and missed a few decent chances. Naysayers will say there must be something wrong if Kenny, over the last few games, sees fit to keep a £35m player on the bench. Today’s game also, unhelpfully, brings into further focus Carroll’s fee with that that of Demba Ba, his replacement at Newcastle, who cost nothing but has scored more goals. However a sense of perspective is needed, an appreciation of the whole picture? Does Carroll’s relative failure in front of goal this season make him any better or worse than the rest of the squad, not necessarily perhaps? He is certainly no different from the rest of our squad in the sense that he’s not scoring enough goals.
Nonetheless to suggest that we should be pleased with Carroll is clearly nonsense all we can do is be patient and support him. It’s interesting that those who seek to knock him refer to his private life yet this season we’ve heard no reports about him being out of order. If Carroll had been Gary Lineker would he have had same problem yet because he is young and has been out having a good time and is a Geordie he’s the new Gazza? Because he is a big lad he is automatically assumed to be unfit or lazy? Time to get behind him and give him a chance, or those £35m waste of money stories will increase.
Elsewhere and team wise we are without Suarez thanks to the wit and wisdom of the FA. Many will say that at least we have Gerrard back however, I’m wondering if he will start. Kenny suggests not
“He looks unbelievably fit at the moment,…but we won’t be irresponsible. We’ll just take it as diligently and professionally as we always do. There’s no need to throw him straight in. He’s not ready to last 90 minutes yet, and he’s experienced enough to recognise that. There’s no panic. We’d rather have him for the rest of the season than just a couple of games right away.”
Prediction? Newcastle, at one stage, were third in the table but, after run of defeats now sit below us. The lost opportunity to make up ground with the Blackburn game was made a bit easier to digest because Chelsea and Arsenal also drew however, a win is needed or we find ourselves falling further behind. Time to stiffen things up at home and I take us to start doing this tonight with 3-1 win. Andy Carroll to score against his old club? It just the sort thing football can serve up!