Football’s clannish culture prefers to reduce personalities to caricatures and Suárez has contributed to how he has been perceived by those who plan their lung-busting booing sessions prior to him visiting their stadium.
Suárez knows this only too well. The Uruguayan this week spoke to English journalists for the first time since serving his suspension for referring to Patrice Evra, the Manchester United defender, by his skin colour.
He has not been allowed to forget it. During the Olympics, when sports’ fans generally set aside their tribal loyalties, Suárez’s every touch for Uruguay was jeered at Britain’s football grounds.
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“I think I play football in a different way. I love football and I put 100 per cent into it all the time,” he said.
“I recognise that sometimes this can lead to unusual behaviour but it is because I love the game so much and I am so passionate about it. I have worked very hard to get where I am today and the 90 minutes on the pitch are so important to me.
“That is why I fight so hard. It was very hard for me as a kid to get through as a footballer in Uruguay. I had to sacrifice a lot of things to get where I am. From time to time I do remember as a kid playing football without shoes. Now I don’t want to miss any of the opportunities that are open to me. That’s why I play so hard on the pitch.
“The other [opposing] fans, of course, are fanatical about their own teams and it is not as if they are going to support or try and help an opposition player anyway, so I am not really that interested in the reception they give me.”
Suárez’s capacity to divide can be traced well beyond last year’s eight-game ban, but the extremities on both sides of that insidious case created a new pantomime villain for the Premier League.
Suárez says the support he received from Liverpool following his suspension influenced the recent decision to sign a new contract.
“It did. The club has trust in me because of the work I do on the football pitch and what happened in the past is in the past. It is over,” said Suárez. “I am quite happy with the way people think about me here. I don’t give an opinion about myself. I’m pleased that my team-mates think about me in a positive way.
“There were clubs that wanted to sign me but my priority was always to stay and sign for Liverpool. I was very happy here and the manager said he wanted me to stay because he was happy with me as a player. That gave me the confidence that I was hoping for and that helped me to stay and sign for Liverpool.”
His manager, Brendan Rodgers, wants Suárez to put the Evra case behind him. Football’s redemptive qualities are such that Suárez can win hearts and minds off the pitch by creating moments of divine pleasure on it.
His game is not without flaws, the brilliance of his creative play not always matched by his finishing prowess, last weekend’s defeat at West Bromwich Albion underlining the point.
“I am the problem. It is all down to me,” he said. “I need to take my time more when I do have chances. Sometimes I am rushing at chances too much and I know the problem is mine. It is up to me to sort it out and to start scoring goals.
“I am annoyed about last Saturday because I did the hardest thing, which was to get free of my marker. And after that I missed the chances. But that is why we have training – to try and tweak these little things and make them better.
“In Holland I scored a lot of lucky goals. If you look back on my goals in Holland you will see that, a lot of times, I didn’t even hit them properly but they went in. If there is one thing that is missing in this country, it is that bit of luck. That can make a big difference. I am hoping that it will return and then I will score more.”
Liverpool need that to happen soon with a demanding schedule for their new manager, but Suárez is adamant he can fulfil his ambitions on Merseyside.
He is bemused by the suggestion that he has committed himself to a period of transition rather than competing for the highest honours.
“I recognise that the season wasn’t very good last year. It wasn’t a very good campaign for us in the league,” he said. “A team like Liverpool always wants to be in the Champions League, where it should be, but I’ve still got hopes that we can make the Champions League. That is where I dream of playing for at least one season with Liverpool.
“I believe this club can win the Premier League if we do everything right. Not this season. If a new manager came won the league in his first season then he would be an outstanding manager, maybe the No 1 in the world. It’s a difficult question to say when and not one that can be answered at this time.”
On Sunday, Suárez faces a kindred spirit in Carlos Tévez, acknowledging a debt
Suárez sees Tévez as a pioneer for South Americans in English football. It was while watching the Argentinian plunder goals for Manchester United that Suárez became attracted to the Premier League and began the journey that led him to Liverpool.
The common ground between the pair extends beyond the boundaries of their continent, of course. Last year Tévez wanted to escape England while there were those who wanted Suárez deported.
“Yes, there were some problems for us both last season,” said Suárez.
“Carlos is a mature person and has sorted out those problems. He’s an excellent player and everyone in England is enjoying watching him play at this moment.
“We are professional footballers. We play football on the pitch. Like any other problem someone has, you put it behind you and move on.
“I watched Tévez when I was playing in Holland and I could see he was doing really well.
“That was one of the things that really motivated me to come and play in the Premier League. I thought that if Tévez can succeed, then I could too.”
When the duo share a handshake and an embrace at full-time, they will have more to empathise with than the preceding 90 minutes.