BARCELONA. — Since the start of the season, Spanish La Liga soccer leaders Barcelona have been flying, but the same is not true for striker Luis Suarez. With three goals in his first 14 games, Suarez was in his worst form for the club, one of the few players in Ernesto Valverde’s side who was struggling as the Catalans established a firm lead in the title race.
Barcelona were winning despite him, not because of him, as they often did in his first three seasons at Camp Nou. With 121 goals in his first 147 matches, helping his side to two league titles, a Champions League trophy and three King’s Cups, among other silverware, everything Suarez touched turn to gold, until this season.
Suarez scored in the routs of Espanyol and Girona, as well as netting an important equaliser against Atletico Madrid in the 1-1 draw in October, but otherwise fired blanks.
The 30-year-old failed to score in any of Barcelona’s six Champions League group games, missed easy chances and was bereft of confidence, despite Valverde consistently starting him. Barcelona hit their stride in the coach’s new 4-4-2 system but Suarez lagged behind, missing Neymar, who left for Paris St Germain in the middle of last year. — AFP.