Jan Molby

Liverpool paying the penalty for Suarez theatrics

Jan Molby

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It is not being melodramatic to suggest Luis Suarez is costing Liverpool penalty kicks with his conduct in going down trying to win them.

If you look at the incident in the 0-0 draw against Stoke City yesterday, when he turns back there may have been the slightest of touches. But the slightest of touches is never enough to bring a grown man down in the way Suarez suggested.

It is the striker's reaction after it that is probably most disappointing. He throws himself to the ground. It is an unnecessary action.

He didn't have to do that yesterday. I think issues like that are discussed by everybody including the manager Brendan Rodgers, and the Liverpool players. But most pertinently of all, it is being discussed among referees.

It is an ongoing issue and is a problem now because of the way Suarez is viewed by referees.

Unless it is an absolute stonewall penalty, not many referees are going to give him a penalty.

Yet there is no player in the Premier League who is involved in as many potential penalty incidents as Suarez because of the way he plays.

The way he turns and moves in the penalty box, he is always asking the question. And big central defenders have to twist and turn. There is always a chance they will dangle a leg for Suarez to take the bait.

It is the drama that Suarez puts into it all afterwards, the sort of unnatural body action that you see after he goes to ground, that is the real problem. If you are clipped in the penalty area, you have to trust that the referee will spot it and act accordingly.

You don't need to add to the drama of the moment. The biggest problem now is that every time he is in the penalty box, Suarez puts the referee under pressure.

Of course, Suarez is not the only attacker using this ploy. The winning of a free-kick or the winning of a penalty has become part of the modern game.

Defenders used to commit fouls years ago. Now attackers win free-kicks and penalties. That is where the game has changed.

There was a time when defenders used to put their hands up and admit they had committed a foul. Now that has changed with attackers constantly looking to gain an advantage.

Some people can say it is a part of the game, but it is not really required.

I am not one of those who say it was better years ago, but there was more of a tendency to stay on your feet whenever possible.

I think Brendan might ask Luis to take the theatrics out of it. By all means go down if you are fouled, but don't add to the drama.

The problem for Luis is he is not being awarded penalties that he should have been given because he has gained this reputation. That is not helpful to Liverpool's cause.

Especially when you are trying to turn draws into narrow wins.

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