Luis Suarez completed a remarkable second half at Anfield by heading in a 96th-minute equaliser on Sunday, his 30th goal of the season in all competitions—but it might turn out to be his last touch of the season after he was accused of biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic earlier in the match.
The Liverpool forward was heavily involved all match long, being the Reds' most inventive and dangerous threat in the first half. Then in the second half he set up an equaliser for Daniel Sturridge, hand-balled to concede a penalty for Chelsea to lead 2-1 and then scored the late seconds for a 2-2 draw.
Aside from all that, though, it will be his apparent chomp out of Ivanovic's arm which inevitably will receive the most attention post-game.
The Chelsea defender was understandably astounded and shocked, taking his protestations to the referee, but no action was taken at the time. It is as yet unclear whether the referee saw the incident when it took place; if he did, there will be no further action taken by the FA.
On the other hand, if it was missed by the officials, Suarez will almost certainly be facing a lengthy suspension.
While playing for former club Ajax, Suarez was similarly found guilty of biting PSV Eindhoven's Otman Bakkal, comparisons with which were quickly drawn up.
Inevitably, the social-media scene lit up after the incident against Chelsea, with Twitter users expressing everything from outrage to humour as they tried to comprehend the forward's actions. The official club website made no comment immediately after the game, with much fallout sure to come over the coming days.
A bite and a handball? Suarez playing his greatest hits today.— dirtytackle (@BrooksDT) April 21, 2013
To be fair, Branislav Ivanovic's arm band is made of bacon.— James Tyler (@JamesTylerESPN) April 21, 2013
Suarez just ate that chance up nicely!! Sturridge the #GameChanger ....— Rio Ferdinand (@rioferdy5) April 21, 2013
Replays, analysis and further comment was the expected reaction at full time, which came seconds after Suarez headed in the equaliser for his team. The general consensus is, of course, that the attacker will be expected to miss the remainder of the season for Liverpool if the FA punish him for the incident.
Awaiting comment from Suarez, Ivanovic or either of the clubs, it would be remiss to be too sensationalistic at this point—but the video images appear damning, and it will be both inexcusable and intolerable if Suarez isn't found guilty of the offence.
Suarez left Ajax while suspended for his biting offence, and with the rumours circulating around about a possible departure this summer from Liverpool, it would be extremely usual to find him placed in the same circumstances twice—that he transfers away from a team while suspended for biting.
He has been stuck up for by his supporters at the club through accusations of diving, racial controversy and general unsportsmanlike behaviour, but this latest episode in the public eye might strain even that strong bond between fans and player.
Suarez remains top goalscorer of the Premier League and is in the running for the PFA Player of the Year award for this season too, but it seems as if his time on the pitch—though it ended with a dramatic equalising goal—is going to be cut short this season.