Italy v Uruguay: Group D - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil

Luis Suarez has issues, now FIFA must address them quickly and with conviction


What struck me most about Luis Suarez’ (UPDATE: Official.) chomp down on Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini was the Uruguayan’s immediate reaction — hands grasping at his bear-trap mouth, feigning pain, coupled with a subtle a look of dreaded realization.

The teeth grab felt like the predictable response of a man seeking to deflect guilt. The look of disbelief and misgiving, however, spoke of a man surprised by his own actions.

He will say otherwise. His team will say otherwise. Heck, all of Uruguay will say otherwise. But the director of the live production caught the moment perfectly. The proof was in the pudding and in Suarez’ case, the pudding was all over his face.

Simply stated, Luis Suarez is a biter. Why, exactly? It’s impossible to say without a psychiatric evaluation but when an adult bites three opponents in the last four years clearly that man is, at his very core, a biter. No clearer way to put it.

Admittedly, I, too, was once a biter. Of course, that was when I was two years old and my brother, three years my elder, would pick on me. ‘A defense mechanism’, my Mom would laugh years later when the topic would come up over the odd holiday dinner. ‘And a darn effective one,’ she’d note.

Damn skippy it was. But like most biters, I outgrew the move within a year or two before venturing on to other forms of self-defense like eye-poking, pinching and hair-pulling.

What can I say? I was a scrappy kid. But Suarez is a man, a man with responsibilities to himself, his family and his fans across the globe. Which is why this whole situation is so sad. The dude needs help.

Over my time as a student of the game I’ve read and listened to hundreds of hours of Suarez quotes – everything from pre-match sound to post-match pressers to interviews with that adorable Kop Kid, Finn, who interviews Liverpool players from time to time and, without fail, my reaction is always the same — Suarez comes off as an affable guy saddled with demons that he’s legitimately struggling to shed.

Today, he failed to do so and now it’s up to FIFA to impose a penalty on the striker that will work. A seven-match ban at Ajax in 2010 didn’t work. A 10-match ban at Liverpool in 2013 didn’t work. Here, FIFA needs to act quickly and with conviction.

The letter of the law allows for up to 24 matches but for me 15 matches, a fine of somewhere around $500k and, most importantly, an extensive treatment program should just about do it. It’s hard time one of, if not the best pure striker in the game gets the proper help he requires.

VIDEO: Marco Verratti plays a brilliant pass to Eder for Italy goal

PALERMO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06:  Marco Verratti of Italy in action during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier match between Italy and Bulgaria on September 6, 2015 in Palermo, Italy.  (Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images)
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Italy took a 1-0 lead over Azerbaijan through the in-form Eder in the 11th minute, but the true leg-work (see what I did there) came from bite-sized midfielder Marco Verratti.

The PSG playmaker pinged a beautiful long ball over the top of the Azerbaijan defense that fell right at the feet of Eder, who let the ball settle itself and touched home confidently past Kamran Arhayev for a 1-0 lead.

The goal is the second of Eder’s national career in just five caps, having scored on debut against Bulgaria back in March. He has six goals in seven matches for Sampdoria so far this Serie A season.

Italy needs three points in this match to ensure qualification to Euro 2016. A win would guarantee them a place in the field, while anything less would mean there is work to do in the final match on Tuesday against Norway.


Later in the match, Stephan El Shaarawy gave Italy a 2-1 lead just before halftime, his second career international goal and his first since September of 2012 which came in his third career start.

Agent: Liverpool contacted Klopp only after Rodgers firing

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 09:  Jurgen Klopp arrives to be unveiled as the new manager of Liverpool FC at a press conference at Anfield on October 9, 2015 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
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As soon as Brendan Rodgers was dismissed by Liverpool on Sunday, Jurgen Klopp’s name was tossed around as the likely successor to the then-vacant Liverpool managerial position.

However, according to Klopp’s representatve Marc Kosicke, Liverpool did not make contact with the German until after Rodgers had been officially let go.

“The first call from Liverpool came after the dismissal as coach of Rodgers,” Kosicke told Bild. “Before Liverpool there were naturally quite a few inquiries. But Jurgen always asked me not to take it any further.”

Club management was less committal than Klopp’s rep, but did say they had their eye on the German for some time. “We have learned to keep certain matters confidential. We had a meeting recently with Jurgen that he has talked about and I don’t want to talk too much about these conversations. But we have thought about him for a long time and everyone who knows football knows he is an outstanding manager.”

It’s relatively hard to believe Liverpool would have canned Rodgers without knowing for sure that a top-level target such as Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti were on board to replace him. It also would mean discussions of the contract terms and logistics would have moved at lightning speed, with just four days between the Rodgers dismissal and Klopp’s official unveiling.