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Luis Suarez labeled a “street fighter” who damaged Liverpool’s brand

Sep 26, 2013, 8:26 AM EDT

Liverpool's Suarez controls the ball during their English League cup soccer match against Manchester United at Old Trafford in Manchester Reuters

On the heels of Liverpool’s 1-0 loss to Manchester United in yesterday’s Capital One Cup clash, Liverpool managing director Ian Ayre has branded Luis Suarez a “street fighter” whose behavior has damaged Liverpool’s brand.

Wednesday’s match marked the return of Suarez to English football following his 10-match suspension for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic, having previously served an eight-game ban for racially abusing Patrice Evra.

Following the match Ayre admitted his delight in Suarez’ return but also noted the negative influence the Uruguayan’s conduct has had on the Anfield club: “It was damaging to the brand but this club is bigger than one player. Luis is a street fighter and we had to deal with it.”

Ayre also discussed the work they’ve done with Suarez and how the latest incident changed the culture at Liverpool: “We’ve worked a lot with him since the Ivanovic incident and he’s back to what he’s best at – terrorizing defenders. . . . We all move on together. Hard work and lessons have been learnt post-Evra and we now have a process in place for any crisis. Not a Suarez crisis, just any one.”

There’s little doubt that Suarez’ actions have hurt his own brand.

By racially abusing Evra, and thereafter refusing to shake Evra’s hand upon returning from suspension, Suarez showed himself to be a person who either didn’t understand the consequences of his actions or simply didn’t care.

By biting Ivanovic, after having already received a seven match ban by the Dutch FA for biting PSV Eindhoven midfielder Otman Bakkal during an Eredivisie match in 2010, question marks were raised once again as to Suarez’ mental state.

These repeat offenses caused fans to scratch their heads. Could it be that Suarez really is just plain crazy?

The answer? Probably. Which is effectively what Ayre was telling us when he labeled Suarez a “street fighter.” Regardless of whether or not that type of violence is part of Suarez’ background, Ayre is suggesting we simply deal with him.

And deal with him we will! Because at the end of the day Luis Suarez is a sublime player and a fantastic character in the world of English football. Yes, Suarez is a repeat offender of heinous incidents but fans need guys like Luis like we need beer with our buffalo wings and Sriracha with our eggs.

When it comes to Suarez, the bottom line is the bottom line – the man puts fannies in seats. This the reason why Liverpool refused to sell him this past summer and why most of us are willing to give him yet another chance.

But to claim that Suarez damaged the club’s brand is a joke. If anyone is to blame for the harm done to Liverpool Football Club, it is Liverpool Football Club.

Live by the sword. Die by the sword.

  1. mdac1012 - Sep 26, 2013 at 8:51 AM

    Is Surez a bit crazy? Probably. Is he a complete jerk? Absolutely! But he is not the first or last great player that was one or both of those things. I don’t think Suarez has hurt the Liverpool brand, I think Suarez has damaged his own reputation by his actions. It’s like asking has John Terry damaged the Chelsea brand or has he simply damaged himself?

    If anything has damaged the Liverpool brand it’s never having won a EPL Championship and missing out on Champions League football. As in any sport, winning is the great cure-all.

  2. awad2251 - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    I’m not condoning Suarez’s actions, but what this guy has done pales in comparison to what multiple NFL players do in an off season. I’m glad Luis is back because the guy can flat out play.

  3. dfstell - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:15 AM

    As a United fan, I love that Liverpool employs this guy. He’s just as jerk and I love that Liverpool can’t/won’t make him behave because they don’t have a deep enough club to willfully bench him (although they’ve been playing well without him this year).

    The Evra incident really spoke volumes about the whole situation. Even if you believe Suarez’s assertion that he wasn’t racially abusing Evra or that it was something lost in translation that Suarez didn’t mean to be offensive, someone should have set him down and said, “Look Luis….. You have been accused of being a racist. Nobody will ever know what is in your heart or what was really said on the field, but in the court of public opinion, you are now considered a racist. The only productive path forward is for you to shake Evra’s hand and become vocal about the evils of racism in our society.” That may have even happened because Rogers was irritated that Suarez didn’t shake, but he also didn’t bench him for a game.

    • mdac1012 - Sep 26, 2013 at 9:42 AM

      United hasn’t exactly employed saints over the years either. I am not defending Suarez, he is a complete jerk but remember Roy Keene purposely ending another player’s career?

      As for Ian Ayre, he just gave an interview on Sky Sports talking about how “wonderful” “Louie” has been since the whole transfer saga ended and that he always wanted him to stay at Liverpool and is hoping to sign him to an extension. So, obviously Ayre doesn’t think Suarez has hurt the brand that badly if he wants Suarez to stay.

      • lyleoross - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM

        Not to mention Mr. Level Headed Rooney. Wayne kicks a ball in another player’s face, and that’s okay because, well it is Wayne after all. And don’t get me wrong, Wayne isn’t Suarez, but he is an donkey.

  4. capsfan19 - Sep 26, 2013 at 10:32 AM

    Suarez is lucky that ivanovic didnt whip his a$$. He’s lucky he hasnt had any retaliation against him.

  5. braxtonrob - Sep 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    Send him to Newcastle then!

  6. 407magic - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    You mean street “biter”

  7. billobrienschindimple - Sep 26, 2013 at 1:24 PM

    To all you Manc supporters I simply say “Cantona”.

  8. godsholytrousers - Sep 26, 2013 at 5:44 PM

    Louis Suarez is “hungry” for victory!

    Manchester United need to nose out of it. When Rio Ferdinand shows up the center official like he did when the Red Devils were knocked out of the Champions League by Luca Modric and Real Madrid, they have nothing to add about sportsmanship. You stay classy Rio!

  9. Brian - Sep 26, 2013 at 7:44 PM

    If there’s any justice in the EPL, Suarez won’t get any iffy calls this season. This goes beyond the biting–he’s admitted that he dives to get calls as well. I’d love it if every time he hit the ground in the box the match official swallows his whistle and tells Suarez to get up.

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