Monday Kickoff: Mourinho accuses Suarez of diving; Messi could return early; and more

Luis Suarez of Liverpool appeals unsuccessfully for a penalty against Samuel Eto'o of Chelsea

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Chelsea took all three points from their duel on Sunday with Liverpool but all the focus after the match was on Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho’s accusing Luis Suarez of diving.

The Liverpool forward was held without a goal for the second consecutive game but Mourinho choose to speak about an incident late in the match when Suarez went down inside the box after losing the ball to Chelsea defender Cesar Azpilicueta. Video replays indicate that Suarez was forced down by Chelsea’s Samuel Eto’o but referee Howard Webb, who had a clear view of the situation, decided not to call a foul.

“It is not a tackle. Suarez lost the duel with Azpilicueta, who has the ball and is leaving the box,” Mourinho told reporters after the match. “Now he is doing an acrobatic swimming pool jump to try to get a penalty. [Referee Howard] Webb is 10 meters away and I think the only mistake he did was not to give him a yellow card.”

It’s not the first time that Suarez has been accused of diving or simulation. In October, Suarez was accused of diving to earn a penalty in a key World Cup qualification match with Uruguay against Argentina and Suarez admitted last season that he had fooled the referee in a match against Stoke City to earn his side a penalty kick.

On Sunday, Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers defended Suarez in the incident and said that Eto’o could have been sent off for his action on another day.

Here are some more stories to kick off your week:

MESSI COULD RETURN AHEAD OF SCHEDULE

After planning for Lionel Messi to return to the Barcelona match-day squad on Jan. 11, Messi could make his comeback ahead of schedule.

A report in Spanish publication Marca claims that Messi had an ultrasound this past Thursday and the results showed that his thigh injury is completely healed. The news could give Barcelona the chance to play Messi for a few minutes when they return to play against Elche on Jan. 5.

Messi last played on Nov. 10, limping off with his latest leg injury that has slightly tarnished the Argentine forward’s 2013 calendar year. Despite the injuries, Messi has scored 14 goals in all competitions this season and Barcelona remain in first place in La Liga. Messi is set to fly back to Spain on Jan. 2 from Buenos Aires, where he has been recovering for the past month.

NAPOLI SET FOR JANUARY DOUBLE SIGNING

Though they’re out of the UEFA Champions League f0r the rest of the season, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis is hard at work improving the squad for the second half of the season.

According to a number of reports out of Italy and France, Napoli are closing in on two eight-figure transfer deals to acquire Lyon midfielder Maxime Gonalons and Marseille defender Nicolas N’Koulou. Gonalons’ transfer will reportedly cost €12 million while N’Koulou’s deal is still unknown. A report in Italy’s Gazzetta Dello Sport claims that the deal for Gonalons is already completed.

The 24-year-old Gonalons has been a regular starter for Lyon all season, playing in both their Champions League qualifiers and Europa League group stage matches in addition to 17 starts in Ligue 1. N’Koulou is also a starter for Marseille and has started every one of their league matches (19) in central defense as well as five of their six Champions League games.

QUICK KICKS

The high court in France has approved the controversial 75 percent tax on all those earning at least €1 million per year. (REPORT)

Nicolas Anelka could be facing a minimum five-match suspension for his “quenelle” gesture, which has anti-semitic connotations. (REPORT)

Though Manchester United and Bayern Munich are interested, it’s been revealed that it will take a bid of €60 million to acquire Atletico Madrid’s Koke. (REPORT)

Former Netherlands star Edgar Davids is considering retirement again from the field after receiving his third red card of the season as Barnet’s player/coach. (REPORT)

Argentinos Juniors have hired former manager Claudio Borghi to take over for the 2014 Clausura campaign, four years after leading the club to the Argentine league title. (REPORT)

Uruguay National Team midfielder Cristian Rodriguez rode nearly 37 miles on a horse after promising to do so if Uruguay had qualified for the 2014 World Cup. (REPORT)

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What do you think of these reports? Agree with Mourinho’s comments? See Messi returning ahead of schedule? Like Napoli’s potential signings from France?

Share your thoughts below.

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14 Responses to Monday Kickoff: Mourinho accuses Suarez of diving; Messi could return early; and more

  1. HoboMike says:

    Somehow Eto’o performed two red card tackles and didn’t even get a yellow for either.

    His studs-to-the-knee challenge on Henderson was a potential devastating injury waiting to happen – you can’t even see the ball in any still picture of the incident. The fact that it happened 90 seconds SHOULD NOT be a factor in the decision. However, I get the fact that the ref may not want to dramatically alter the game, so I would have been fine with a yellow. But the play on Suarez was ridiculous. I completely thought Suarez dove. Then saw a replay from an angle and saw Eto’o tripped him. Then, saw a replay from a third angle and watched as Eto’o blatantly threw his studs into Suarez off the ball. How is that not anything?

    • Sly says:

      In the EPL once you have a reputation that’s it. This is the 4th or 5th game Suarez was taken out and no card. If he dived, give him a yellow, if he didn’t then the other guy gets one. Webb has been a terrible ref to Liverpool anyway though so I expected worse. If anything Webb has improved.

      • Reid says:

        Reputation or not… Webb was 10′-15′ away and was looking directly at him. The only reason he didn’t call a foul was because the challenge was in the box and the ball was away from the play.
        Done in by refs for both City and Chelsea matches.
        I’m a pool supporter and don’t think that we should have walked with 6 points but pool got screwed out of 2 points for sure.
        This year 2 pts might be the difference in everything

        • Travis says:

          Ive got no love for Liverpool but I also don’t like to see teams robbed by refs and I feel some big decisions went against them in both games. Suarez had two very legitimate penalty claims in this game.

  2. Pingback: Monday Kickoff: Mourinho accuses Suarez of diving; Messi could return early; and more | Octo-Blog

  3. Brain Guy says:

    Whether it’s conscious or unconscious, referees may take Suarez’s reputation into account when making a call. So Suarez may lose as many legitimate PKs as he has gained illegitimately through diving. The difference, I suppose, is that lots of players get fouled in the box without earning a PK, but few people dive as much as Suarez. Or am I, too, succumbing to my bias based on his reputation?

    • Madden's Chin says:

      Might be something of a confirmation bias.

      Suarez may embellish at similar rates to any other player–but he is the focal point and will have possession in the opposing box far more often than the average striker–thus he has more chances to embellish or be accused of such.

      At the end of the day, reality doesn’t matter. He clearly doesn’t dive here. To even claim it as such as ludicrous. Yet, here we are with pundits and coaches accusing him of diving.

  4. Brett Bates says:

    Chelsea won, Mourinho should have some class and shut his mouth.

  5. Travis says:

    Mourinho complaining about diving is classic, the only reason his home streak is alive still is because of a dive by one of his guys (Ramires I think?) back in the WBA game. Also this wasn’t a dive, it was a stupid play by eto’o, what is he doing near Suarez and why is he body checking him?

  6. Karl S. says:

    At this point, what does Mouriho bring to football? The most entertaining thing about his teams are his antics during and after the games but at some point a classless hack is just not funny anymore.

  7. biff says:

    Does not get much more blatant than yesterday and Eto’s tackle of Suarez in the box knowing he would get away with it even with the ref watching just a few yards away was just the icing on the cake. Mourinho’s comments were tongue-in-cheek and no doubt he and his team and Howard Webb and the FA had a good chuckle.

    • beachbum says:

      Terry’s elbow at least as egregious too. Mourinho works the media as well as any trying to get things seen his way seems to me, much like SAF and the NBA’s Phil Jackson. It’s one of his talents imo

  8. Bean says:

    I am a Liverpool supporter. I believe that Webb drastically altered the match with his lenience toward Chelsea’s very physical style of play. It was bad luck for Liverpool, who now have a large bulk of the team injured. Luckily this was the toughest stretch of matches, and opponants for the rest of the season, and LFC still have a good chance to grab a UCL spot.

    I do want to praise Willian, Luiz, and especially Hazard who had very good games. It was a very exciting match to watch at times, and Chelsea played admirably.

  9. linda says:

    Mourinho always at it. typical bloody chelsea finally showing up when they play my team. nice elbow by terry who was at least carded. Joe allen looked like he had a third cheek bone after that. Suarez was hacked all game. Liverpool much as I love them did fall apart a bit after the shock of scoring their goal. would be nice if they can sub on some one with a bit more experience than the poor ausie kid . Liverpool’s last 2 defeats have both been great games to watch though frustrating to come away with nothing.