Suarez Ten-match Ban Justified; What Should Liverpool Do with Him Now?

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COMMENTARY | Luis Suarez may have played in his last ever Premier League game.

The FA announced on Wednesday morning ET time that the Liverpool forward has received a ten-match ban after he was caught biting the arm of Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic during this past Sunday's 2-2 draw at Anfield. The following statement was posted on the FA's official website regarding the suspension: "Luis Suarez has been suspended for a total of ten matches after an Independent Regulatory Commission today ruled on a charge of violent conduct. A three-person Independent Regulatory Commission today upheld The FA's claim that a suspension of three matches was clearly insufficient and the player will serve a further seven first-team matches in addition to the standard three. The suspension begins with immediate effect.

This follows an incident with Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic in Sunday's fixture at Anfield. The Liverpool forward had accepted a charge of violent conduct but had denied The FA's claim that the standard three-match sanction was insufficient for the offence."

Suarez, a Player of the Year nominee, has until midday local time Friday, April 26 to appeal the decision. It was not yet known if he will do so as of the posting of this piece.

The Uruguay international is a repeat offender of crimes against the game. This is the second time during his career that Suarez has been banned for biting an opposing player. He was suspended for seven games in 2010 after cameras showed that he had bitten a player in the neck while playing for Ajax.

In December 2011, Suarez was found guilty of using racist language towards Manchester United defender Patrice Evra during a league contest that had taken place on October 15 of that year. He received an eight-match ban for that offense. The following February, Suarez again made headlines when he refused to shake Evra's hand before the two sides kicked off at Old Trafford. Reports then surfaced that the FA had warned Suarez that any more incidents would not be taken lightly.

Suarez could also find himself suspended from international duty. While playing for Uruguay in a March 2013 World Cup qualifier, Suarez appeared to have punched Chile defender Gonzalo Jara. The referee claimed to have missed the incident, which is now being reviewed by FIFA.

Wednesday's announcement from the FA could be the unofficial end of Liverpool's dreams of reclaiming European football this spring. They are currently seventh in the league table and on 51 points. Everton, in sixth place, are on 56 points. Tottenham Hotspur are on 61 points, and Spurs also have a game in hand over Liverpool and Everton. Liverpool will conclude the 2012-13 campaign away to Newcastle United, at home to Everton, away to Fulham, and at home versus QPR.

Liverpool will obviously have more to consider than just their immediate future when it comes to what to do with Suarez. His talent is undeniable. Suarez is unquestionably one of the top-five (at least) players in the Premier League, not to mention one of the better forwards in the world. It's possible that he would have finished the season as the league's leading scorer if not for his latest crime.

Liverpool aren't just a football club, of course. They are a global brand that those running the franchise will absolutely want to protect. Does Suarez's incredible talent make up for the damage he has done to that brand? That's a question those at Fenway Sports Group will need to answer this coming summer.

There are positives and negatives in Liverpool selling Suarez. The big negative would be losing their star player, and another is the fact that they are going to have to take far less than top dollar for the controversial forward. Anybody willing to touch Suarez will be doing so at a risk, and thus will also likely be looking to receive a considerable discount. Aside from distancing themselves from a man who seemingly cannot stay out of trouble, it's nearly unimaginable that any EPL team would be willing to take even a flier out on Suarez. That's a plus for Liverpool, who would, in such a scenario, only ever see Suarez in a European competition.

They may not have to worry about that for quite some time.

Zac has been covering Tottenham Hotspur, Major League Soccer, RBNY, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.

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