Liverpool

Luis Suarez Leaves Liverpool with Legacy of Controversy After Barcelona Move

Ian RodgersWorld Football Staff WriterJuly 11, 2014

Luis Suarez Leaves Liverpool with Legacy of Controversy After Barcelona Move

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    Clint Hughes/Associated Press

    Liverpool have agreed the sale of Luis Suarez to Barcelona, as the Anfield club confirmed on their official Twitter timeline.

    The former Liverpool striker will leave behind a host of memories at Anfield, notably a series of controversial incidents from his time at the club since joining from Ajax in January 2011.

    The Uruguay international leaves behind a legacy as one of the best footballers to play for the Reds, but his talent always came with the potential for incendiary moments.

    Here we take a look at the controversies which dogged his Liverpool career.

October 2011: Fall Under Challenge of Everton Midfielder Jack Rodwell

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    Tim Hales/Associated Press

    Everton were looking strong in the first Merseyside derby of the 2011-12 Premier League season, but everything changed in the 23rd minute.

    Goodison Park midfielder Jack Rodwell went in for a challenge on Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, and the South American fell to the floor in apparent agony.

    Rodwell was dismissed by referee Martin Atkinson, but television replays showed there had been no contact with Suarez in his tackle.

    Then-Everton manager David Moyes was left incensed by the decision after his 10-man team eventually lost 2-0 to the Reds, as Andy Hunter of The Guardian reported.

    Moyes is quoted as saying:

    It ruined the game.

    There are a lot of questions that people ask about derbies, about tackles, about sending-offs and about players but that wasn't down to a bad tackle by a player.

    I would have been disappointed if it had been a free-kick and if he had given a yellow card you would have said: 'What is that for?'

    It wouldn't be the last time Moyes and Suarez crossed swords.

October 2011: Clash with Manchester United Defender Patrice Evra

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    Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

    Games between Liverpool and Manchester United are always highly combustible affairs, but the October 2011 edition was ignited by a racism row during the match.

    Manchester United defender Patrice Evra claimed that Suarez had racially abused him during the 1-1 draw at Anfield, as BBC Sport reported.

    As a result, Suarez was handed an eight-match ban and a £40,000 fine by the Football Association in December 2011.

    After the FA punishment was announced, Liverpool players wore t-shirts in support of Suarez as they warmed up for a Premier League match at Wigan, and they issued a statement in support of the forward, as BBC Sport reported.

    The statement said:

    'We totally support Luis and we want the world to know that,' the statement continued. 'We know he is not racist.

    We have lived, trained and played with Luis for almost 12 months and we don't recognise the way he has been portrayed.

    We will continue to support Luis through this difficult period, and, as a popular and respected friend of all his team-mates, he will not walk alone.'

    Then-Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish also voiced his support in the same article.

    Dalglish was quoted as saying:

    We have said we will always support him, and we will.

    That is not just the people at the football club, it's the people who the football club means something to.

    They know that Luis Suarez means a great deal to them and he has got mutual respect for the fans.

    There is a fantastic relationship there and nothing will break it.

    However, the controversy surrounding the incident did not end with the FA punishment.

December 2011: Gesture Made at Fulham Supporters

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    Matt Dunham/Associated Press

    Just days after receiving his eight-match ban for the Evra incident, Suarez found himself in further trouble after making a gesture toward Fulham supporters during a game at Craven Cottage.

    As the Uruguay international left the pitch after Liverpool's 1-0 defeat, he raised a finger at a section of the west London crowd.

    Then-Liverpool boss Kenny Dalglish again made a spirited defence of the forward after being told that the home crowd had called him a cheat, as Kevin McCarra of The Guardian reported.

    Dalglish was quoted as saying:

    That's scandalous.

    I would like to see you write that in the paper because you would be in a bit of trouble as well. You write what you want to write.

    At the end of the day, we will look after Luis the best we can and I think it is about time he got a wee bit of protection from some people.

    The FA handed him a one-match ban, fined him £20,000 and warned Suarez over his future conduct, as BBC Sport highlighted at the time.

February 2012: Refuses Patrice Evra Handshake Before Game at Old Trafford

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    Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

    Suarez was again involved in controversy with Evra at the return Premier League meeting of Manchester United and Liverpool in February 2012.

    The South American was the last Liverpool player in line as the team paraded past their opponents for an official handshake before the game.

    Evra appeared to offer his hand toward the Liverpool man, who refused to acknowledge the move, as the Press Association (h/t The Guardian) reported.

    Then-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was quoted as saying:

    I could not believe it, I just could not believe it. He's a disgrace to Liverpool Football Club, that certain player should not be allowed to play for Liverpool again.

    The history that club's got and he does that and in a situation like today could have caused a riot. I was really disappointed in that guy, it was terrible what he did.

    It created a tension, you've seen the referee didn't know what to do about it. It caught him off guard. It was a terrible start to the game, a terrible atmosphere it created.

October 2012: Takes a Dive in Front of Everton Manager David Moyes

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    Jon Super/Associated Press

    Former Everton manager David Moyes voiced his concern that Suarez could dive during the Merseyside derby in October 2012, as Sky Sports reported.

    The incident involving Jack Rodwell in the previous campaign had given rise to Moyes' worries, and he was quoted as saying:

    I've got concerns about Suarez, yes, because he's got history and these people are very good at it.

    Last year was a dive, and the referee made a really poor decision that ruined the game after 15 minutes.

    It will turn the public and fans off football if they think people are conning their way to results. When you're out to manufacture results, supporters don't like it.

    Supporters don't like the idea of people going to ground too easily. Everyone who has ever played football, everyone who's been involved, would hate that. You'd be saying, 'Get up!'

    People who play football find it very hard to go along with. Retrospective viewing of diving is nearly more important than some of the other technology they are thinking about.

    Suarez had clearly read the interview and, after Liverpool opened the scoring, he raced toward the Everton dug-out and flung himself to the floor in celebration.

    Moyes was measured in his reaction, as Chris Bascombe of The Telegraph reported.

    He was quoted as saying:

    I thought [the celebration] was great. I actually quite liked that. It’s the sort of thing I might have done if we’d scored at the end.

    I just think you have to be careful what you do. What the players do on the pitch sometimes has an effect on the crowd. He is going to have to dive in front of a lot of managers now.

January 2013: Handball Denies Mansfield Town Famous FA Cup Result

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    Clive Mason/Getty Images

    Non-league Mansfield Town should have been celebrating a lucrative FA Cup third-round replay at Anfield in January 2013, but they were instead left bemoaning Suarez's role in the winning goal.

    The Reds were already leading through a Daniel Sturridge goal when Suarez collected a ball from Stewart Downing inside the Mansfield area.

    His shot was saved by Stags goalkeeper Alan Marriott, but Suarez controlled the rebound with his hand before adding Liverpool's second goal.

    Mansfield went on to pull a goal back but were denied a replay their second-half display had warranted through Suarez.

    Mansfield chief executive Carolyn Radford claimed after the game that the South American had "stolen" the game from her team, as Mark Ogden of the The Telegraph reported.

    She was quoted as saying:

    It feels a bit like the result was stolen from us.

    Whether it was deliberate or not, it should be sorted out.

    It is very unfortunate that the referees and officials can’t pick up these things.

    We should be a least having a replay. Handballs are obviously de rigeur.

    Mansfield goalkeeper Marriott added in the same article:

    When you see Suarez laughing as he kicks the ball across the line, he knows himself what happened.

    Even Stewart Downing said to us that he could not believe professional officials missed that.

    When it turns out to be the decisive goal, then it’s a sickener for everyone.

    Just before it goes over the line, he volleyed it and he had a smile on his face.

    I think everyone knows that you wait for the referee to blow. But on this occasion, the officials have missed it.

April 2013: Bites Branislav Ivanovic to Earn 10-Match Suspension

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    Michael Regan/Getty Images

    Few football fans watching live coverage of the Liverpool vs. Chelsea game at Anfield in April 2013 will forget the moment one incident was replayed on television.

    Suarez and Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic were shown jostling inside the Blues' six-yard area, but the slowed-down replay revealed the Liverpool striker had bitten his opponent, as The Guardian reported.

    After the game, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers did not rule out selling the forward if his behaviour did not meet the club's standards, as Chris Bascombe of the The Telegraph reported.

    Rodgers was quoted as saying:

    There's certainly nobody bigger than this football club, a player or manager. We're representing this great football club, off and on the field.

    One hundred per cent players are always replaceable. It doesn't matter how good they think they are.

    There are wonderful talents here, but we've shown over the years if you lose a player and think you can't replace him, the next one comes.

    The standards at this club have been made, and that's why it's the institution it is. The history of this club is of respect. Those standards will be maintained long after I've gone.

    I'll always speak openly and honestly when I can. If I think people are wrong, I'll tell them. It's happened already this year with Luis.

    People have to accept they do wrong and, if they do, they have to accept the consequences accordingly.

    The FA came down heavily on Suarez, handing him a 10-match ban for the incident, as BBC Sport reported.

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