Andy Gray: Liverpool’s Suárez paying the penalty for going down too easily
Every club has players who will try and win a penalty including Liverpool and Manchester United, writes Andy Gray
Sir Alex Ferguson and Brendan Rodgers have brought the debate over diving back into the spotlight but every club has players who will try and win a penalty regardless of their nationality – it’s all just swings and roundabouts.
I’m getting a little bit tired of the diving issue getting so much coverage this early on in the season, I really am.
In my life and time of covering the Premier League, which has been since its inception 20 years ago, we’ve always debated this problem – it’s nothing new.
It’s something that’s grown with the league itself – players trying to get other players in trouble, trying to win free-kicks and penalties, claiming this and that, and it all gets very tiresome when the managers start talking about it.
Sir Alex mentions foreign players but forgets Danny Welbeck’s tumble against Wigan and Wayne Rooney’s fall for a penalty against Arsenal when they brought an end to their long unbeaten run in 2004.
Luis Suárez has been hard done by a couple of times but he’s brought it upon himself by going to ground easily for Liverpool before.
Teams have players who have won penalties this season when maybe they shouldn’t, but there’s a big difference between trying to win a penalty after you’ve been tackled and diving.
I’ve said all along that if a defender throws his leg out there, there are no laws of the game to say a striker has to try and jump over it.
If a forward accepts that gift then I don’t have a problem with it. It’s the incidents where players go to ground with no contact whatsoever that the Premier League and the FA have to try and eradicate.
It’s very difficult for a referee to spot the amount of contact in the heat of the moment. I’ve been saying it for years and I keep saying it – these are professional athletes we’re talking about.
Sometimes these athletes are travelling at an awfully quick speed, and when you’re doing that and you’re trying to juggle a ball as well in between your feet and keep control of it, it doesn’t take an awful lot to knock you off your balance and down to the ground – I don’t think referees give that enough thought.
But I get bored with the topic. There are so many more good things in the game that we should be talking about rather than debating who dives the most.