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Suarez Does Help Liverpool, Needs to Start

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Michael Dodge

Sports coverage can be a funny thing sometimes. The media finds salt and labels it pepper, misguiding fans toward false conclusions. It's a shocking process not because it happens -- there's always going to be those who spread false information -- but because so many people buy into these erroneous ideas.

Luis Suarez is a player that knows the workings of the media too well. Sometimes he is unfairly victimized and sometimes he deserves every bit of criticism, but at least up to this point the media has come to reasonable conclusions. He bit someone? Perhaps he has mental issues. Fair enough, at least there is a reasonable cause and effect chain here.

But the newest idea that the media is spreading, most notably on TV broadcasts, is that Liverpool are a better team without Luis Suarez. That is absolute rubbish.

Before I begin my own rebuttal, read this pertinent article that shreds apart the stat often used to call Suarez's importance into question:

For those who are allergic to links, the article talks about how using team winning percentage with a player compared to without leads to false conclusions. Taking the example of Steven Gerrard, the author shows how this win percentage stat, and the often arbitrary endpoints used to measure it, indicates that for long periods of time Liverpool were worse off with Gerrard in the lineup. This obviously false idea drawn from the win percentage statistic shows just how flimsy the statistic is.

But your TV station isn't telling you any of this, are they? The broadcaster will take that one inconclusive stat and use it to make a sweeping judgement on a player's worth. In this case, the victim is Luis Suarez.

Logically the media's argument makes no sense. Luis Suarez had a fair chance of winning the EPL player of the year award last season until he bit Ivanovic, and was brilliant in almost every game he played. Not only was he good on his own, but he was also very willing to play with his teammates, even linking up with the supposedly selfish Daniel Sturridge (yet another false media story line).

An obvious response to what I've been saying here is that Liverpool are playing their best football in awhile, and that Suarez isn't a part of that. But take a look at why they are playing so well. They've been winning these games 1-0 due to finishing an early chance and playing awesome defense. On the whole, the attack is not why they're winning. City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United, Villa, AND Crystal Palace all have scored more than the Reds thus far. Liverpool are tied for 7th on the scoring list with four other teams including the notoriously futile Stoke City. It's the defense that's carrying Liverpool with historically good play, as they have yet to concede a goal.

If anything, Suarez will make Liverpool a lot better. He will be inserted into the weakest link of an already high performing system, most likely replacing Iago Aspas. Nearly every team in the world would love to have Suarez, a player with such a unique blend of attacking firepower and creativity.

The media has been flat out wrong in their assertion that Suarez harms Liverpool's chance of winning. The Uruguayan has helped Liverpool in the past and will continue helping them after he returns from suspension. Luis Suarez does help Liverpool and needs to start as soon as he returns.