I didn’t get to see the Mansfield game until last night due to being away all day on Sunday and then, once I’d got in and sorted the kids out, falling asleep on the sofa and waking up at four in the morning! What fun no update and a sore neck to boot!
The game looked like a typical cup tie with the hosts giving it a real go, particularly in the second, half. It’s a cliché but form and league positions often go out of the window in these sort of ties and when you add in the eight changes BR made we get a closer game? Before the Mansfield onslaught we had more than enough chances to have killed the game off. Green’s goal was deserved however it made things a lot harder and closer than it should have been.
The game should have been remembered for Daniel Sturridge scoring on his debut. The goal, a nice cross shot after a good move involving Jonjo Shelvey, was the first of many chances Sturridge would have the easiest being a one on one stand off with Marriott in the Mansfield goal which the keeper won. However, inevitably attention was focused on the controversial nature of Luis Suarez’s goal which eventually proved to be the winner.
I think there are some very sad, not to mention hypocritical, people out there. The back page headlines “You Cheat”, “Handbawl”, “Caught Red Handed” John Champion on ITV/EPSN described the goal as “the actions of a cheat”. All this simply reflects the unreasoned blood lust that the papers have for Suarez. There is little or no attempt to strike a balance between the circumstances and the way player reacted no it was simply an issue of pandering to populism and resurrecting the witch hunt.
The reasons to support Suarez, or at least not criticise him, are overwhelming:
1: Suarez himself knew the ball had hit his hand. His demeanour i.e. the way he hit the ball into the net after it touched his hand suggested to me that he didn’t expect the referee to give the decision. When it was given he wasn’t being provocative by kissing his hand/wrist/arm those who watch Liverpool should know he does that every time he scores
2. BR asked the fourth official if it was handball and he told him it was but it wasn’t deliberate. Would Suarez have deliberately handled the ball in such a good goal scoring position? To me it also looked as if once it hit his hand he tried to pull it away hardly the actions of someone trying to deliberately handle it??
3. If Suarez did deliberately handle the ball then surely the referee should be criticised for not picking up on this and not Suarez?. Do defenders who handle the ball on the line or in the penalty area get the same type of flack if the referee doesn’t spot it? Are they called “cheats” What is the difference?
4. Even if Suarez, like Robbie Fowler at Highbury in the mid nineties when we were awarded a penalty, had gone up to the referee and said that he’d got the decision wrong then the decision could not be changed? Referees decision is final?
5. Does any one seriously believe that, given the same opportunity, they would have gone to the ref and fessed up? Even Mansfield’s manager said he would have taken it and later on yesterday said he didn’t feel cheated. Anyone who suggests that Suarez should do this is needs to get a grip on reality and stop being so sanctimonious.
6. Suarez has been consistently picked on this season. Decisions have consistently gone against him because of his reputation for diving. This is not fair, referees take the lazy option “it’s Suarez it must be a dive” rather than judge the situation on its merits regardless of who is involved. This has happened too many times this season for it to be a coincidence. On this occasion the same poor refereeing that Suarez has been the victim of has worked in his favour, about time!
In an ideal world where everyone was kind to everyone else some of these arguments wouldn’t hold sway however sadly this isn’t the case. I feel sorry for Mansfield they were terrific hosts and showed great class with Hillsborough seat gesture. However, this is professional football Suarez has used his hand(s) to advantage his teams before but so have many other players. In every case it is up the referees to pick this out if they don’t what can be done about it nothing under the current rules so move on and get over it or is because it is Suarez people that feel they can’t?
If that is the case, shame on them.