Luis Suarez is slowly carving out a career as modern day football's Mr. Controversial.
This combination of events, combined with his handball in the 2010 World Cup against Ghana, has meant that Suarez has never been far from the headlines over the past 18 months—but not necessarily for bad reasons, as his displays for Liverpool this season have been sublime.
Controversy can come in all shapes and sizes. From on-field antics to drunken holiday misadventures, from betting scandals to spells in prison, footballers have done it all.
This article will take a look at Liverpool players of past and present that have been headline-makers for all the wrong reasons.
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Robbie Fowler was one of the greatest finishers in the English game during his prime years at Liverpool, but he caused a media storm after celebrating a goal against Everton by pretending to sniff the white lines of the penalty area in a reference to recent claims he had taken cocaine.
Then manager Gerard Houllier tried to pass the incident off as a Cameroonian grass eating celebration introduced to the player by teammate Rigobert Song.
Needless to say that didn't wash with the FA, and Fowler was given a 4 match ban and fined £60,000 by the club.
If you play for Liverpool Football Club, there are certain things in your career that you just don't do.
One of them, is signing for Everton. The other is sign for Manchester United.
Michael Owen risked the wrath of Merseyside when he decided to ignore the latter and penned a 2-year deal with Alex Ferguson on July 3rd 2009.
Owen will never be forgiven for what Liverpool fans consider the ultimate betrayal.
The word controversy goes hand in hand with El Hadji Diouf. Even a simple wikipedia search brings up the below menu.
In 2003, Diouf was found guilty of spitting at Celtic fans during a UEFA cup match.
This was not Dioufs only spitting misdemeanor, as he was accused of spitting at West Ham fans in 2002, spitting at an 11 year old Middlesbrough fan in 2004, and spitting in the face of Arjan de Zeeuw also in 2004.
Torres had been idolised by the Kop, and had created a name for himself as one of the world's best strikers after signing from Spanish club Atletico Madrid.
Liverpool fans were gutted by Torres' decision to leave as they had hoped to see the prolific Spaniard forge a fearsome partnership with Luis Suarez.
Torres left before that dream could become a reality.
Torres made matters worse with a parting after-shot, declaring he left in order to play for a "top club." But, he has since failed to spark at Chelsea and has recently been linked with a move away from the London club in the new year.
Former Liverpool goalkeeper Bruce Grobbelaar was accused by The Sun newspaper of match-fixing in 1994. Ittarnished his reputation by appearing in court and dominating the headlines for the wrong reasons.
Despite being found "not guilty" of the charges, Grobbelaar reputation was shot and findings of dishonesty were prevalent.
Grobbelaar subsequently went bankrupt following the court proceedings.
Jermaine Pennant was the first player that I ever saw wearing a court-issued electronic tag on a football pitch. This came following a prison sentence for drunken driving whilst disqualified in 2005.
Liverpool signed him a year later for £6.7 million pounds, but Pennant failed to clean up his act and was arrested in 2007 over a domestic dispute.
Liverpool ultimately decided to let him leave on a free transfer when his contract expired.
Graeme Souness was a great Liverpool player, but he couldn't bring the same success to his management days on Merseyside.
After relatively poor management spells at various other clubs after Liverpool, Souness landed himself in hot water during an analysis of Serbia's 2010 World Cup game against Ghana whereby he made a comment regarding rape.
RTE Sport subsequently had to issue an apology.
Andy Carroll has caused controversy by possibly being the worst £35 million pound footballer that has ever played the sport.
Whilst Carroll has ability and is still young, the vast majority of Liverpool supporters feel he was overpriced by at least £20 million pounds when he signed in January 2011 from Newcastle United.
Craig Bellamy has often been found on the periphery of a number of incidents during his time as a professional footballer.
He was cautioned in 2002 for assaulting a woman in a nightclub, charged of racially aggravated harassment in 2003 (but later acquitted), and disciplined by Rafa Benitez in 2007 for allegedly hitting then team mate John Arne Riise with a golf club after a drunken argument.
Currently in his second spell at Anfield, Liverpool fans will be hoping the Welshmans antics have been put behind him.
Stanley Victor Collymore signed for Liverpool for £8.5 million pounds, which was a British record at the time in 1995.
He went on to forge a great partnership with Robbie Fowler, but he only lasted two seasons before being sold to Aston Villa in 1997.
In 1998, Collymore was accused of assaulting then-girlfriend Ulrika Johnsson in a Paris bar by punching and kicking her in the head.
After battling depression, Collymore went on to admit "dogging" activities in 2004.
Whilst Luis Garcia was not a particularly controversial player, one of his goals sparked a debate that still rages today.
In 2005, Garcia scored the only goal in a Champions League semi final game against Chelsea.
The problem was that no one was sure as to whether it had crossed the line. TV replays still prove inconclusive.
The term "Ghost goal" was born and is used to describe other incidents today.
I'm reasonably confident that some people will consider some of these entries as not being controversial at all. But, by the mere fact that I have included them, any argument they shouldn't be there then makes them controversial because they divide opinion.
The emergence of smart phones and the internet has made access to footballers lives so much more available, and more and more players come under scrutiny and criticism.
Nobody is in a position to cast judgment on another yet we all do it so regularly.
Spare a thought for writer Christopher Hitchens who passed away recently. Hitchens was certainly one himself to court controversy. Here are some of his more interesting quotes.
If you haven't read enough then take a look at my article 10 Strikers LFC could have bought with £35 million spent on Andy Carroll.
Merry Christmas everybody!
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