If the football field was a theatre, then there can’t be a greater actor than Luis Suarez. His famed ‘theatrics’ notwithstanding, he makes football fun and joy to watch. Always under the immense scrutiny of media observers, opponents and fans alike, he manages to bring home a power packed performance on almost every other occasion. Switching roles at ease, he can go from being a villain to a hero with utmost conviction, so much so, that in the end he is viewed by many as a star who just can’t be kept quiet. Love him or hate him, you just can’t afford to ignore him.
The just gone by Merseyside derby involving Liverpool and Everton had its lead star Luis Suarez pulling all strings, so much that he could have walked away with another match winning ‘performance’, if not for the linesman, who brought an anticlimactic end to the whole affair. Much of the pre-match talk revolved around David Moyes lamenting on the ‘diver’ syndrome currently hogging headlines. “People are going to turn away if they continue to watch people throw themselves on the ground,” he had said. Little did he realize that he could have antagonized the supposed diver Suarez! Speaking at the post match conference, Steven Gerrard said “…if people want to try to get in Luis’ head and wind him up, then it’s the wrong thing to do. He doesn’t need David Moyes to fire him up.” And it certainly did fire up Suarez, for he was at the heart of all the action orchestrated by his team. Bringing out his humorous side to the fore, he enacted a ‘simulated dive’ in front of the Everton manager after scoring his side’s second goal. David Moyes certainly took that performance in his stride, stating that he thought it (the celebration) was great. He said, “I actually quite liked that and it’s the sort of thing I’d have done if I’d have scored.” ‘Scouse wit’, was what Brendan Rodgers had to say after he himself seemed to enjoy the Suarez show. The other side of the actor was soon exposed. This time however, the rival boss was less generous, saying that he (Suarez) was a lucky man to stay on the pitch, after his ‘gone wrong’ tackle on defender Sylvain Distin. Indeed, the tackle deserved a sending off, for it could have easily broken his foot. You just can’t take your eyes of that lad!
Everton came back strongly from 0-2, to equalize. With the affair poised for a perfect climax, Liverpool sensed anxiety in the opponents and capitalized on a deep free kick from Gerrard that was floated down to none other than Suarez, who fired a crisp finish from close quarters. Gerrard, witness to many such hard fought battles, ran the breadth of field to celebrate in front of the travelling Kop fans. The joy soon turned to despair as the linesman ruled out the goal for offside. It was harsh treatment meted out to Suarez and indeed, Liverpool who could have won the bragging rights over their neighbours.
The match that pitted two of the greatest rivals against each other, proved to be a perfect opener for the super Sunday clashes. Liverpool versus Everton was always going to be a cracker of game and it didn’t need Luis Suarez to spice up the already charged atmosphere, but then, he was only too willing to oblige us, keeping true to his ‘entertainer’ status. We certainly don’t mind that!