Suarez should learn from Wayne Rooney as rehab begins
Striker is cheered by Liverpool fans on his return to action, should they be so ready to forgive?
THE rehabilitation of Luis Suarez began in Manchester last night as the errant Uruguayan returned from a ten-match ban to play for Liverpool for the first time since failing to engineer a move away from the club in the summer.
Most observers felt he acquitted himself well enough, although his side fell to a 1-0 defeat at Manchester United and he was obviously short of match practice.
He showed some good touches and did not appear to be affected by the torrent of abuse hurled at him by United fans, who have not forgotten his run-in with Patrice Evra two years ago.
He would also have been heartened by the reaction of the travelling Liverpool fans who, perhaps because they found themselves entrenched in enemy territory, cheered him to the rafters.
The willingness of Liverpool fans to accept Suarez reflected the attitude of the United fans towards their captain for the night, Wayne Rooney. And as he battles to win over the doubters on the Kop, Suarez should take a leaf out of Rooney's book, says Mark Ogden in the Daily Telegraph.
"There is a simple reason for Rooney's return to favour – performances on the pitch," he explains. "The route laid out for Suarez to put a similarly
fractious summer at Liverpool behind him is simple. He has to deliver on the pitch and let the storm clouds dissipate."
Despite his reception from the diehard Reds’ support last night, Suarez has some way to go. "Aside from his repeated efforts to force a move away from Anfield this summer, Suarez has also brought shame on the club that pays his £120,000-a-week wages," says Ogden. "Yet football supporters, as hardline and unforgiving as they often claim to be, quickly forget their principles when it involves a star player such as Suarez or Rooney."
Even the club is prepared to forgive Suarez, despite his track record. Liverpool's managing director Ian Ayre has admitted that Suarez's actions have damaged the club's brand. But he glossed over his indiscretions by describing the player as "a street fighter", before happily concluding: "He's back to what he's best at - terrorising defenders."
The way back should not be so easy, says Rory Smith on ESPN. He laments a situation in which players like Suarez are welcomed back and says this easy forgiveness simply perpetuates a culture in which stars treat their clubs with disdain.
"What message does that send?" he asks. "It is not mere acquiescence, but active encouragement. Do all you can to try to get a move, and if it does not come
off, we'll love you all the more." ·