Seeing Luis Suarez sitting on the bench for Barcelona on Saturday would have made any Liverpool – or indeed Almeria fan – want to weep. That the Reds’ best player of last season couldn’t even make Barca’s starting 11 was surely a worrying prospect for their opposition.
In a week of questionable team selections, it seems Suarez’s omission from the starting line-up was surely just that. The Uruguayan contributed to the £150 million-plus worth of talent that Luis Enrique left languishing on the bench for that match – perhaps a complacent move given that Almeria had yet to win at the Estadio de los Juegos Mediterráneos this season.
But for the third successive match, the Catalan club were, by their own standards, totally deficient and taking the fluidity for which they are renowned. The impending international break will leave Luis Enrique searching for solutions to restore Barca’s invincibility.
Had it not been for Suarez’s second-half impact in setting up up Neymar and Jordi Alba’s goals, Enrique’s men would have succumbed to the unthinkable; losing three consecutive league games for the first time since 2003.
In a match where Messi mis-fired, Suarez’s form was the only glimmer of positivity for the Blaugrana. Following a lengthy absence and race against time to regain vital match fitness, Suarez is now finding his feet. While he still remains without a goal to his name in a Barcelona shirt is irrelevant at this stage; his three assists in as many La Liga outings and his incisive play against Almeria in a game where Barcelona were out-played, will go some way to silencing the doubters. His quality was conspicuous and he has the backing of team-mates to become an indispensable component of the Nou Camp outfit. As his fitness returns, so will the goals.