So its 2014, my teams progress in the Premier League seems to be going as expected. We aimed for a top 4 finish and despite leading at Christmas I'm not too phased that we're now in 4th place. The gap at the top is tight and every game is a major one with anyone who slips up, that result could prove detrimental to their title hopes.
This past weekend Liverpool were at home to Aston Villa, as this season has already proven, there is no easy fixture in the league. Villa proved just that by getting into a 2-0 lead at Anfield in the first half. Many agree that Rodgers got the tactics and line up wrong, yes we were playing at home but our attacking formation left us completely vulnerable at the back. Our defence hasn't been its best of late either so Villa didn't have to try hard to get at us. Before the break Sturridge managed to get one back for us but at half time a tactical change was needed, in stepped Lucas, taking the place of Coutinho, who in all fairness has had some horrible games recently. Immediately there was a change in the team, it seemed more stable and so the onslaught began.
What transpired next, still leaves a sour taste in some peoples mouth, Luis Suarez worked his way through the defence at goal, Villa's goalkeeper Brad Guzan charged at him. At the very last second he realised he wouldn't be able to make a challenge and looked to have pulled out but by that time it was too late. He appeared to have caught the leg of Suarez who then went to ground and a penalty was awarded. After watching replays of various angles, it was clear that Luis was caught, yes he did go down easily but he didn't make a meal of it. Turn to the rules of the game and they all say the same thing, penalty.
Was it harsh? I don't think so, its happened to many other teams including Liverpool. Let me take you back to a famous fixture in 2009, Man Utd vs Liverpool. Many just remember the final scoreline but what I'm interested in, is Man Utd's goal. Ji Sung Park was played in via a lovely through ball, Pepe Reina came charging out, again when it was too late he decides to pull out. Minimal contact and Parks on the ground, penalty. Ronaldo slots it home to give the home side the lead and the rest, as beautiful as it was is history.
Now, two different occasions, two very different reactions. Fair enough that penalty didn't impact the final result but why wasn't there an out cry over decision? How come the media outlets didn't interview every Tom, Dick and Harry in the industry to get their "expert views" on the matter? From Saturday night I've seen in the news of many ex or current players having their say, 80% of them, like me think Luis went down easily but there was contact and it was a legit penalty. Suddenly his remarkable goal scoring tally of 22 goals so far in the season went out the window and "Suarez the diving cheat" got resurrected from the ashes. It's almost as if they were itching for something like this to happen.
As we know, the media LOVE putting Luis in the spot light over controversy, could they have seen this as a golden opportunity to blow things out of proportion again? I wouldn't put it past them as they are the shrewdest of the lot and will do anything to sell papers. Then one has to look at the people who are complaining, its Aston Villa supporters, whom I don't blame because after being in such a commanding position, I'd also be pissed to get just a point but that's where their anger is from, the other people that are blowing hot air are the United supporters. They love us that lot, even when their team needs their undivided attention they still manage to poke their nose into things related to Liverpool.
The witch hunt for Luis is very real and I don't blame the guy for wanting a transfer away from England, just the other week, when Liverpool faced Stoke, Sterling was brought down in the box that was more than minimal contact made but still some said he milked it, yeah whatever. A penalty was awarded, very little was said about it after the game and it soon went away but this on the other hand, you'd swear Luis was the anti christ. Heck even Stan Collymore is making the news because of this but for all the wrong reasons.
My point is, yes Luis is a temperamental player, he sometimes does things that make you wonder "what the fuck is wrong with him?" but most of the time he treats you to some of the most beautiful football your eyes have ever seen. He has the traits to be the best in the world and I feel if the media and people stop being petty with him, he could show us what he's really made off. I'm not saying let him do whatever he wants, he needs to be disciplined if he steps out of line but lets not nitpick okay?
You'll Never Walk Alone