Man Utd v Liverpool: Luis Suarez 'could be driven out of England'

 

Luis Suarez could quit English football if he continues to be "victimised", says former Liverpool director of football Damien Comolli.

The Reds striker has been involved in a number of controversies since joining from Ajax in 2011.

"It'll be an absolute shame for English football if this victimisation drives him away," Comolli told BBC Sport.

Comolli's major Anfield signings

  • Luis Suarez £22.7m
  • Andy Carroll £35m
  • Jordan Henderson £16m
  • Charlie Adam £9m
  • Stewart Downing £20m
  • Doni free
  • Jose Enrique £5m
  • Sebastian Coates undisclosed
  • Craig Bellamy undisclosed

"As the biggest league in the world you want to keep the biggest players, not drive them away for crazy reasons."

Liverpool signed Suarez for a then club record £22.7m and the Uruguay international has scored 40 goals in 80 appearances.

But there have also been a number of unsavoury incidents, most notably the confrontation with Manchester United defender Patrice Evra that led to Suarez being handed an eight-match ban for racial abuse.

The 25-year-old has been accused of diving and stamping, had a run-in with Everton boss David Moyes and his winning goal in Sunday's FA Cup win at Mansfield was helped by the ball touching his hand.

Comolli was responsible for bringing Suarez to Anfield and believes the public and media should focus their attention on his talent.

"I find it extremely hard to understand why people look at all the bad aspects and not how good the player is," said the 40-year-old, who was sacked by Liverpool in April 2012.

"He is a fantastic individual and professional - totally committed to his club, team-mates and job. He'll give you everything, he's a winner.

Fowler predicts Suarez winner

"People need to be very careful what they say and stop criticising him. He's someone you'd want to go to war alongside. I don't think you can captain Ajax as a foreigner at 21 years of age if you're not a great individual."

Liverpool are eighth in the Premier League, seven points off the top four and 21 behind leaders United ahead of Sunday's trip to Old Trafford.

Much of the current squad was recruited by Comolli in a 17-month spell at Anfield that saw nine players arrive at a reported cost of £113m. 

The decision to sell Fernando Torres in January 2011 for £50m and replace him with Andy Carroll, 24, for £35m has been questioned; as have the summer 2011 signings of Stewart Downing, 28, Jordan Henderson, 22, and Charlie Adam, 27.

Liverpool went on to win the Carling Cup and reach the FA Cup final, but American owners Fenway Sports Group decided to relieve Comolli of his duties and dismissed Kenny Dalglish as manager a month later.

Liverpool top scorers 2012-13

PL FA Cup League Cup Europe Total

Luis Suarez

15

1

1

2

19

Steven Gerrard

4

0

0

1

5

Jonjo Shelvey

1

0

0

4

5

Stewart Downing

1

0

0

2

3

Nuri Sahin

1

0

2

0

3

"I don't have any regrets about players we brought in and I'm sure Kenny is the same," explained the ex-Arsenal scout and Tottenham sporting director.

"You cannot buy young players and not be able to wait for their talent to develop. We brought in very good players.

"Against Sunderland there were no new recruits in the team. Jordan got a standing ovation, Stewart has been playing every game. You need to give players time. They will develop and become very good players."

Dalglish was succeeded by Brendan Rodgers and the new boss sanctioned Carroll's move to West Ham on a season-long loan.

"I don't know what plans they have for him but will he become a very, very good player? I have no doubt about it," Comolli added.

"If you look at the stats throughout Europe, usually target men peak when they are 26-27. Andy is only 23-24. There is a lot more to come from him. and if Kenny and I were still at Liverpool, Andy would still be there."