After a tumultuous 2011-2012 season, Luis Suarez has garnered attention this season more for his accomplishments than his perceived shortcomings, something that his manager acknowledges isn't an accident.
"This is a guy who is trying to turn around his life and adapt to the culture and you can clearly see that. What I have admired from close hand is this is a guy who is trying to change.
"He has come in here and been labelled many things. Because he is a foreign player he will get accused more. If a British player dives we'll laugh and find it funny but when it's Luis Suarez he is a diver. There are cultural differences to where he has worked and played before and you can see he has clearly adapted to that."
Like Kenny Dalglish before him, Brendan Rodgers has found himself in the spot of having to defend Luis Suarez on more than one occasion. Last season's events were obviously of a greater, more intense, magnitude, but this season hasn't presented too much of a respite from criticism for the Uruguayan forward, with a number of incidents and occasions renewing the glare of a spotlight that's laced with negatives just as often--if not moreso--as it is positive.
For those paying attention, though, this season has been a bit different for Luis Suarez, at least in terms of the manner in which he goes about his business. It's not going to be highlighted or acknowledged by opposition supporters, who are all too quick to label him a terrible person on the basis of what happens on the pitch, but the petulance, the diving, the diabolical intent has, in many ways, been ratcheted down.
It feels a bit silly to make an argument that he's not actually a terrible person, though, because nobody that's saying that would actually have an idea if he was, and it seems even sillier to try to make a case that fewer dives or confrontations with referees represents progress.
But it's no sillier than the whole charade that's followed Suarez for most of his time in England. He's condemned while others who've committed similar--or in some cases worse--offenses are lionized, and though there's a strong urge to convince others that their opinions are misguided or overblown or just plain wrong, there's little point in doing so. There won't be any light bulb moments for those who've already come to a conclusion regardless of what Luis Suarez does or doesn't do, and for those who are able to actually enjoy him, the effort and energy it'd take to try to convince them otherwise is better spent on following a player who's putting together a marvelous season.
At least he's working at it, I suppose, and if he's is making an effort, it'd at least be nice if that effort was matched on the other end, a concept which is laid out nicely by Tim Vickery: