Much has been made of Sunday’s game against ManU. Kuyt scoring his first Liverpool hat trick, Suarez dazzling us with his control and determination, and King Kenny celebrating his 60th birthday in style are all great stories coming out of the match. However not all of the stories were positive.
Right before the half Jamie Carragher lunged in on Nani, leaving him with a nasty gash on his leg and in the ensuing scuffle Nani ended up bursting into tears. Should it have been a red? Maybe, although I believe this is karma paying us back for Gerrards weak red in the FA Cup match last time. Nani’s injury was followed by Rafael going studs in on Lucas with the same potential to damage as Carragher’s lunge on Nani. Lucas escaped more or less unscathed however.
So why did I choose the title “A difference in character” for this post?
According to news reports, Jamie went to the visitors changing room after the match to apologize to Nani for the injury. He was willing even to walk into the change room to apologize, walking in among a team with whom he has not had the best of relationships. In short, he acted with class. He owned up for his mistake even in the face of a difficult situation.
Nani, being the coward he is, refused to meet him. He also avoided him in the hallway (again, according to news reports).
While I have no love for ManU I wouldn’t try to paint all of them with the same brush as Nani. He is a special sort of brat that I detest. He epitomizes the worst aspects of the beautiful game.
But here is what spurred me into writing this piece: In addition to the Carragher/Nani incident, I read today that Rafael has not reached out to Lucas yet to apologize for his tackle. Normally not a huge deal, but the two play for Brazil and are international team mates.
Lucas was gracious in saying that he is sure he would catch up later with Rafael and that he understands why he didn’t reach out after the game, however I disagree and someone with character would have contacted a team mate after such a scenario.
Carragher and Lucas both showed character and class, they epitomize the Liverpool way and it is one of the reasons why I love this club. In my mind ManU also confirmed where I believe they stand on the issue of character: Lacking.
When you play for a club like Liverpool you are standing on the shoulders of giants. You wear the same shirt that some of the greatest footballers have ever worn, and there is a duty that comes with that. The current players on the club respect must (and do) respect that.
But it raises a concern I have:
Luis Suarez is already proving to be a terrific signing and has the potential to be one of the Liverpool greats. However my one concern about him is that he also has the potential to lose his head and do something stupid, like biting another player. In the scuffle after the Lucas tackle he actually did grab Rafael by the hair, if only briefly. My hope is that Carragher, Gerrard, Lucas and the rest impart upon our young Uruguayan the need to not only play well, but to respect the Liverpool way and act with character and class. If he does learn this, and continue to play the way he has been, I have no doubt he will be a LFC great.