The problem with Liverpool fans is they’re so damned loyal. The recent years of decline have tested their patience to the limit and yet the Kop has remained fanatically steadfast in its support of the club’s managers and players alike.
Which is why Luis Suarez’s repeated, increasingly comical and shameless refusal to stay on his feet in the penalty box is such a stain on the club’s proud reputation.
Liverpool supporters deserve so much better.
His latest dive against Stoke on Sunday was simply jaw dropping, a premeditated and calculated simulation that drew gasps of disbelief from the crowd for its sheer, unadulterated cynicism. It was so bad, I thought for a second it had to be an ill-advised joke.
It wasn’t and Brendan Rodgers was left with the unenviable task of publicly defending his player to the press, claiming the Uruguayan was the victim of a witch hunt, an innocent man subjected to a campaign of vilification by the media and opposition managers.
It is bad enough that Rodgers was forced to mount a feeble defence of his player he clearly does not believe. The Liverpool boss has enough on his plate this season without Suarez making him look a fool time and again and the longer the striker persists in hitting the deck at any and every opportunity, the more ridiculous Rodgers will look.
But it’s the Liverpool fans who are the real losers. It’s been a long time since they could hold their heads high in terms of their team’s results on the pitch but now they are embarrassed and betrayed by the antics of a player who seems hell bent on demeaning the famous red shirt.
Let’s be honest, every club has players who have dived in a search of penalty. No Premier League side is completely innocent when it comes to the murky world of simulation but Suarez is in a league of his own and he’s making the Reds a laughing stock.
Publicly of course the majority of the Anfield faithful will not turn on their striker. It’s in their DNA to defend the honour of the club in good times and in bad but privately they must be appalled, disgusted by his flagrant disregard for anything that Liverpool stands for.
Suarez could perhaps have been forgiven for his play acting in his early days at Anfield. A South American who arrived on Merseyside via Amsterdam, he may genuinely have been unaware of English football culture or Liverpool’s history but nearly two years later ignorance can now be no excuse.
The Kop demands certain things from its sides. Pass and move, commitment and pride in the shirt of course but also a certain sense of dignity about the way the players got about their business.
At the moment, Suarez is making a mockery of that. Talk of fines or suspensions to clamp down on his cheating are all well and good but the quickest and most effective way to convince the striker to stay on his feet would be for Anfield to roar its disapproval the next time he decides to plunge to the ground.
Listen to Iain on this weeks brilliant Red White and Blue Football Podcast HERE