Suárez remains such a tricky opponent because of his sheer persistence and determination – he has recorded 123 shots in the Premier League this season, 34 more than any other player.
If you listen to BR, he says the refs saw it deemed it unintentional and allowed the goal, which I find bizarre
Handling the ball involves a deliberate act of a player making contact with the ball with his hand or arm. The referee must take the following into consideration:
• the movement of the hand towards the ball (not the ball towards the hand)
• the distance between the opponent and the ball (unexpected ball)
• the position of the hand does not necessarily mean that there is an infringement
ESPN have issued a statement regarding the comments Jon Champion made about Suarez.
“We take our responsibility to deliver the highest standards of coverage to our viewers. ESPN’s editorial policy is for commentators to be unbiased and honest, to call things as they see them. Inevitably this can involve treading a fine line on occasion, especially in the heat of the moment. Comments during the Mansfield v Liverpool match caused offence where none was intended and we have spoken to our commentator about this incident.”
Good grief. Everyone is trying to have Suarez burned at the stake after his goal today.
The key word here is 'deliberate'. Not even the most myopic Liverpool supporter would attempt to claim that the ball did not strike Suarez's hand. But is there 'movement of the hand towards the ball'? Not conclusively.
This is why referee Andre Marriner was absolutely correct to allow the goal to stand, and why Suarez does not deserve the current round of condemnation. This is not a Diego Maradona or Thierry Henry moment.
Given his past indiscretions, there have been suggestions that Suarez should have intervened, held his hands up (sorry) to what had occurred and then basked in the positive Public Relations glory of his own Paolo Di Canio moment.
But why on earth should he? There is no obvious or deliberate intent to handle the ball, the referee and his assistant were well placed to make a judgement and even the opposition have admitted they would have accepted similar good fortune had the situation been reversed. The Monday headlines then would probably read 'Lucky Mansfield' rather than 'Cheat Suarez'.
At present, there are far too many in the game - be they officials, players, managers, commentators, pundits or supporters - of the baffling belief that an indiscretion has occurred whenever there is contact between the ball and a player's hand. We've all seen penalties awarded in ridiculous circumstances when an unwitting defender has the temerity to be stood around 30cm away when a ball is blasted at high speed against their arm.
Perhaps some re-education is required at all levels so that those who insist on demanding that a spot-kick or free-kick be awarded regardless of the circumstances gain a greater awareness of the rules, and perhaps the time has come for certain individuals not to be castigated purely because of their sins of the past.
He looked sheepish enough not to repeat the claim of his fellow South American Diego Maradona that it was the work of God but you didn't have to be a supporter of Mansfield to believe that he had come off the bench with diabolical intent.
Liverpool reckoned, correctly, that Suarez was by far their most potent means of putting down a furious onslaught from their non-league opponents but when he controlled the ball illegally before scoring his team's second goal he confirmed his status as arguably the most dazzling but troubling enigma ever to arrive in English football.
Once again, and after one of the most brilliant phases of his extraordinary career, he showed that for some men, however uncomplicated their gifts, doing the right thing, as opposed to simply gaining any kind of advantage, is the most difficult of challenges.
James Lawton: The hand of God? No, this was a diabolical act from Luis Suarez that cast a shadow over the FA Cup