I’ve heard of people getting two bites of the cherry, but I never thought I’d see a footballer taking two bites out of an opponent. Then again, Liverpool’s Luis Suarez is not a normal footballer, and his latest misdemeanour adds yet another act to a rap sheet that is longer than Dr Dre’s.
Unless you’ve been living in quarantine for the last week, you might have heard one or two things about Suarez’s bite on Branislav Ivanovic’s arm that, at the time of writing, means the Uruguayan has been hit with the ten-game ban that will see him miss the start of next season as well as Liverpool’s remaining four fixtures of 2012/13.
It was a bizarre, inexplicable act, and to be honest, the debate has grown so far-fetched and ludicrous from both sides of the divide (Liverpool fans and the rest of the country) that even prime minister David Cameron has waded in, saying that Suarez should remember he is a role model to young people.
Whether that includes the one million young people Cameron’s policies have forced into unemployment, I’m not entirely sure.
So it seems pointless to even try to bring a semblance of sanity to what is now a hysterical story, other than to say that if ten games is excessive, then maybe Suarez might think twice about biting a fellow human being on a football pitch again.
Or maybe he won’t. After all, he has got the teeth for it.
Were that to be Suarez’s last act in a Liverpool shirt – and that has to be a possibility, no matter what the official club line is – then there couldn’t have been a more fitting way to end.
It was Suarez’s career in 90 minutes: a flash of genius, a controversial handball to give away a penalty, a bite on a player and a great last-minute goal, and whatever you think of him (ie not a lot) his talent is undoubted and the reason Liverpool are so moved to defend him is because life without him is unthinkable.
In case you missed it, we’ve pegged Suarez as an 11/5 chance to depart Anfield this summer in a range of new specials on the controversial hitman, which you can see by clicking here.
But in the short(ish) term, his absence is the reality and Newcastle will be looking at Liverpool and thinking it is a great time to play them.
They’d be right, and the 39/20 on a home win looks like a great bet when compared to the 9/4 on the draw and the 27/20 on a Reds victory, especially with winnings of £59 on offer for new customers using their free £20 bet.
If you think ten games is a long time, then spare a thought for Newcastle fans – they have Alan Pardew for eight years.
Okay, that is a joke, but only half of one: I think Pardew’s performance this year has been as poor as his one last season was excellent, and for all the talk of Europa League commitments and injuries, Newcastle have underachieved massively.
That they still need points to ensure Premier League safety tells you all you need to know, but that is mainly due their dismal away form, which has seen them pick up just one win all season.
At home, Newcastle turned the corner a while back and even if their last outing at St James’ was the terrible 3-0 defeat to Sunderland, they were unbeaten in their previous eight games in league and cup, winning five, which included victory over Chelsea.
With the need for points still prevalent, the Toon should be right at this one. I don’t think I can say the same for the visitors.
Liverpool’s season looked to have been petering out before Suarez’s impression of Hannibal Lector, and I fail to see what the motivation for a trip to St James’ would be for the Reds, save some (misguided?) sense of grievance.
Brendan Rodgers’ men have nothing to play for, aside from the slim chance of finishing above Everton, and it is showing in performances and results.
They have just one win in their last five games and since beating Mansfield in the FA Cup in early January can boast just two wins in their subsequent nine away matches, at struggling Wigan and Aston Villa.
The Reds have let in two goals or more in six of those nine games and in-form Papiss Cisse, with five goals in his last nine games, will be looking to profit.
Liverpool have lost on their last two trips to Tyneside in abject fashion, and at 39/20, I think it is worth siding with Newcastle to ensure their Premier League survival with three points.