Carroll starts as Reds bid to end the year at Anfield with a win

CRAIG BELLAMY and Jose Enrique start tonight for Liverpool against their former club but all eyes will be on Andy Carroll as Newcastle visit Anfield – especially the eyes of the usual snipers. Luis Suarez is unavailable after his gesture to snipers of a different kind at Fulham didn’t go down too well, the resulting one-game ban setting the scene for Carroll to show why Liverpool paid so much for him – or to give the snipers an easy target.

Although Carroll only celebrates his 23rd birthday next week the £35m fee Liverpool splashed out on him makes the target so big for those snipers that they won’t even have to look properly, if at all, as they take aim. The relative youth of the player means nothing to those who were waiting for a stick to beat the manager with, those who judge their own team’s managers and players in the sort of extremes of black and white otherwise only seen at Anfield when Newcastle are the opponents and wearing their traditional shirts. And Big Andy Carroll was a big stick to beat Kenny Dalglish with. Read more

Ignorance is all too common

It seems there is no shortage of ‘look at me’ columnists or radio shock-jocks ready to stick the knife into Liverpool following this week’s events and the fallout from the Suarez-Evra verdict. It was like Christmas had come early, albeit by a few days, with a topic they could talk about from atop their high horses without wasting valuable festive drinking time by bothering to do any research on it.

Some radio guy had a dig at Glen Johnson, who was asked what he thought of the dig by his followers on Twitter. “Who?” tweeted Glen, ending that attempt to wind up to the point of ringing in to argue about it.

Meanwhile in a paper not referred to very often as an example of how to foster multi-cultural toleration someone else Glen Johnson probably hasn’t heard of was having a dig at Kenny Dalglish. Des Kelly of the Daily Mail decided to open his latest column with a suggestion that Kenny, and Andre Villas-Boas, are “dumb”, amongst other little insults.
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T-shirts "shameful" yet undisputed racism is a laughing matter.

MUCH has been written and said about the Suarez-Evra case, particularly in the few days since The FA announced the verdict, and it’s safe to say that little new can be added, at least until the written reasons for the verdict are made public.

Opinions vary on how right or wrong the verdict was, how suitable the punishment was and how appropriate the response has been. People have opinions on people’s opinions and it’s practically impossible to find an impartial opinion.

Yet these opinions are all based on ‘facts’ that are still rather vague, few of which are actually on record anywhere. Words like “negro”, “negrita” and “sudaca” are getting mentioned almost everywhere as being part of the exchange between the two players – but haven’t been mentioned anywhere on the record, in public, by any of those remotely involved in the case.

The opinions being voiced now may well change when, eventually, the full facts of the case are known. The opinions may still be polarised even then, but at least by then it will be possible for those who really care to base their opinions on something other than speculation, sensationalised snippets and spin. There will always be those who struggle to see beyond club v club and those who see no issues in using a situation like this to suit their own needs in some other way – but this spiteful debate could actually become positive if it was based on fact and not innuendo. Individuals normally critical of decisions made by football’s officialdom are suddenly blind to any possibility that there could be a problem – minor or major – with the verdict.
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T-shirts “shameful” yet undisputed racism is a laughing matter.

MUCH has been written and said about the Suarez-Evra case, particularly in the few days since The FA announced the verdict, and it’s safe to say that little new can be added, at least until the written reasons for the verdict are made public.

Opinions vary on how right or wrong the verdict was, how suitable the punishment was and how appropriate the response has been. People have opinions on people’s opinions and it’s practically impossible to find an impartial opinion.

Yet these opinions are all based on ‘facts’ that are still rather vague, few of which are actually on record anywhere. Words like “negro”, “negrita” and “sudaca” are getting mentioned almost everywhere as being part of the exchange between the two players – but haven’t been mentioned anywhere on the record, in public, by any of those remotely involved in the case.

The opinions being voiced now may well change when, eventually, the full facts of the case are known. The opinions may still be polarised even then, but at least by then it will be possible for those who really care to base their opinions on something other than speculation, sensationalised snippets and spin. There will always be those who struggle to see beyond club v club and those who see no issues in using a situation like this to suit their own needs in some other way – but this spiteful debate could actually become positive if it was based on fact and not innuendo. Individuals normally critical of decisions made by football’s officialdom are suddenly blind to any possibility that there could be a problem – minor or major – with the verdict.
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Hypocrisy: the English disease

Rory Smith of The Times has written a piece in response to the Luis Suarez story for The Anfield Wrap:

Author’s note: This is not about Luis Suarez, or Liverpool, or the Football Association, or the rights and wrongs of the case which led to the striker being suspended for eight games and fined £40,000. Enough has been written on that subject by my peers and superiors in what might be termed the football commentariat; I have little of worth to add, on that subject, and, even as a Spanish speaker and a former inhabitant of South America, have no more qualification than most to do so.
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The FA: Suarez banned for 8 games and fined £40,000

THE FA tonight announced that the charge of misconduct against Luis Suarez was found proven and that he will be suspended for eight matches and fined £40,000. Suarez has the right to appeal, and will get 14 days to do so from the date the panel issue the written reasons for their decision. The suspension and fine are suspended until either an appeal is lost or the player decides not to exercise that right to appeal.

The alleged incident took place on 15 October during the Liverpool v Manchester United match at Anfield with the news first broken by French TV that evening after Patrice Evra complained to a reporter for Canal+. After a period of speculation and a certain amount of leaking of information the player was eventually charged on 16 November. Another month passed before the hearing began, on 14 December, and that hearing lasted for six days, culminating in tonight’s appointment.

The panel will issue the written reasons for their decision “in due course”, whatever that actually means. Until then the player is available for selection by Liverpool but, essentially, is guilty until proven otherwise. Liverpool have already played ten competitive fixtures from allegation to announcement and will play their eleventh tomorrow.
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