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Luis Suarez's Latest Bite Is Too Much for Liverpool to Tolerate

NATAL, BRAZIL - JUNE 24:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay reacts during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group D match between Italy and Uruguay at Estadio das Dunas on June 24, 2014 in Natal, Brazil.  (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)
Matthias Hangst/Getty Images
Neri SteinFeatured ColumnistJune 24, 2014

Diego Godin scored the winning goal in the 81st minute to send Uruguay to the Last 16 of the 2014 World Cup, but all anyone will be talking about is that Luis Suarez bit an opponent.

Again. 

For the third time. 

As in this has happened before. Twice. 

At least he didn't hold on as long this time as he did with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic last May (video below) in a match at Anfield, and he didn't do it right in front of the ref, as was the case when he was at Ajax in 2010. 

So he is learning, but certainly not quickly enough. 

FIFA's response remains to be seen, but what does all this mean for Liverpool going into next season? How are Liverpool fans reacting to Suarez's latest embarrassment and more importantly, how will the club react?

As B/R Chelsea writer Rowanne Westhenry said to me via Twitter, do Suarez's goals offset his antics? 

I said last year, after the Ivanovic incident, they absolutely shouldn't and it was time for Liverpool to move on without Suarez. Then last season happened. 

Suarez scored an amazing 31 goals in 33 Premier League appearances last year, making him the clear choice for PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year. It was easily his best year in the Red shirt, but each of his three-and-a-half seasons on Merseyside have been spectacular. 

Luis Suarez Premier League Statistics
YearAppearancesGoalsAssists
2010-111343
2011-1231113
2012-1333235
2013-14333112
via http://www.whoscored.com/Players/22221/History/Luis-Suarez

He holds a lot of value to the team, but how much embarrassment can Liverpool FC—a club that prides itself on its history—take, especially if Suarez's goals and assists don't yield trophies? 

Guillem Balague isn't the only one speculating about clubs such as Real Madrid and Barcelona chasing Suarez this summer, but with Liverpool's second-place finish last season and the club moving forward under Brendan Rodgers, it makes sense for Suarez to give the Reds at least one year of Champions League football to see how long this rebuilding process will really take. 

But do Liverpool want him to stay another year? Will Real and Barca even want such a lightning rod for controversy—all of which is self-inflicted—on their team? 

Biting hasn't been Suarez's only problem. His alleged racial abuse of Patrice Evra still casts a shadow over his playing abilities. 

As a long-time Liverpool supporter, this is all too much for me. It was last year, and it still is now. Suarez is a fantastic player and obviously a wonderful asset to Liverpool's trophy aspirations, but he's not a player I enjoy supporting. 

Even though he can do this. 

Like last summer, Brendan Rodgers has a tough decision to make, but after what he and the rest of Liverpool FC saw from Daniel Sturridge, Raheem Sterling and Philippe Coutinho, it might seem a little easier now. 

Sturridge may have gone through some slumps last season, but he's done nothing but score for Liverpool since he arrived from Chelsea in January of 2013, and he would thrive as the club's No. 1 striker. And while youngsters Sterling and Coutinho may not be automatic goalscorers, their creativity and movement only improved as the season went on and will continue to do so under Rodgers' tutelage. 

Liverpool is a desirable club to play for at the moment, and selling Suarez may only make it more so. Who wants to play with someone who would actually bite an opponent? More importantly, who wants a teammate who puts them in a position to be down a man or have a key player suspended at any time?

Of course, success overshadows almost any ugliness in football. Case in point, Eric Cantona

If Liverpool decide to hang onto Suarez and see if they can turn him into a semi-respectable human being—handball against Ghana notwithstanding—Rodgers will have to be firm with him. 

And he's proven he can and will be. 

Last summer, when Suarez said he wanted to leave Liverpool (because of the English media), Brendan showed him who was boss, per BBC Sport. 

The club and his representatives had several conversations and he knew exactly where he was at. There has been total disrespect of the club - a club that has given him everything.

I will take strong, decisive action, absolutely. I think Luis knows the support he's had at the football club and that's something that's been unswerving throughout the whole of last season.

And this summer, Rodgers and Liverpool have the upper hand over their star striker. While Suarez is still the most talented player on Liverpool's roster, the club has other options now and they're obvious for all to see. 

This is Suarez's third biting incident, and there have been plenty of non-biting incidents over his career as well. Suarez has given no indication that he can learn from his mistakes, and he hasn't earned any of his teammates or coaches making excuses for him. Liverpool cannot afford such a liability at such a crucial point in the club's renaissance. 

And Rodgers could always fill his spot with this girl. 

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