Since Luis Suarez made his league debut for Barcelona back in October 2014, the striker has only found the back of the net twice. Does that tell the whole story of his form for the Catalans? Jason Pettigrove takes a look at the Uruguayan’s season so far.
It’s fair to opine that Luis Suarez hasn’t yet come close to recapturing the form he showed in his final season at Liverpool – a season in which he equaled Cristiano Ronaldo’s 31 league goals to tie the European Golden Shoe.
Much has been made of the Portuguese’s achievements from last season, yet little has been written on just how important and effective the Uruguayan had been for the Anfield outfit.
In many respects, we are now revisiting that status quo. Lionel Messi and Neymar have been rampant in goalscoring terms over the last few months for Barcelona yet the contributions of Suarez have, again, gone largely unnoticed.
It’s certainly taken longer than usual for Suarez to find some rhythm in his own game, but that was always going to happen given a four-month hiatus handed down by FIFA. If and when he regained some fitness, surely we would see his form return? That’s precisely what has happened.
However, if you listened to and took notice of public opinion then the likelihood is you’d have a far different view to that of connoisseurs of the game. Whilst goals remain a striker’s currency and yes, Suarez has yet to cash in to any great degree, his supplementary role to both Messi and Neymar is to be highly commended.
Lest we forget, here is a player that was the man at his previous club, who has signed for arguably one of the greatest clubs in world football and has then been asked to curtail his natural instincts, for the good of the team.
And let’s be clear too, that his lack of goals at present certainly isn’t for the want of trying. A mix of crossbar, post and inspired goalkeeping has kept his contribution to the goals for column in single figures at this juncture.
Take Barca’s most recent outing vs. Villarreal as a prime example. Two outstanding chances in the first half that on any other day may have given Suarez two goals. Another assist, and a work-rate that is rarely matched.
Don’t forget either that his position until recently was often out wide on the right. Shoehorning him into a role to fit the 4-3-3 formation that Barca hardly ever deviate from.
Like another ex-Liverpool striker who left for pastures new, Fernando Torres, unless you are given the right sort of service and utilised correctly, then feeling comfortable is inevitably going to take time, and form will suffer in the meantime.
Torres was never really a Didier Drogba type player, so quite why Chelsea insisted on using him as such is a mystery. But look at the difference now as El Nino, back at Atletico Madrid, is benefiting from a manager knowing his game, his strengths, and his weaknesses, inside out.
And what about Neymar’s situation? Cast your mind back 12 months and take a look at some of the performances from the Brazilian in a Barca shirt and compare them to now.
In the space of a year we’ve seen the evolution from a boy who looked like he could be snapped in half at any given moment, to one of the most lethal and dangerous front men in European football. Quite the transformation.
Patience is a virtue and one which Barca’s notoriously hard to please supporters evidently don’t have at present.
It’s about time for them to sit down, pipe down and allow Suarez’s football to do the talking.
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