Why Luis Suarez must be trusted to return to his Barcelona best

Luis Suarez has been struggling to return to his former best at Barcelona and, inevitably, the Catalans are feeling the strain as a result. The No.9 has become so crucial for the Catalans that, unless he can pick himself back up in the near future, it is very unlikely the club will reach the expected degree of success this season.

Suarez’s legacy for Barcelona is unquestionable. Signed for €82 million from Liverpool during the summer of 2014, the Uruguay international became an attacking reference for the Camp Nou giants immediately. His 124 goals in 160 appearances were crucial in the nine collective titles the No.9 has conquered as a Blaugrana.

However, things have clearly changed for Suarez this season. Ernesto Valverde’s decisión to move Lionel Messi to a more central role meant that Suarez was moved to a position further to the left - a new scenario the No.9 is still not comfortable with after nearly three months. The manager's experiments with the 4-2-3-1 and 4-4-2 formations have not been too successful either.

Simultaneously, Suarez has been trying to shake off ongoing discomfort while on his journey to hit full fitness. Neither have been achieved yet - which has lead to increasing anxiety and frustration. For most of the season, and particularly against Olympiacos in the midweek Champions League clash, Suarez looked a shadow of the sensational striker that impressed alongside Messi and Neymar in his first two seasons at the Camp Nou.

Fortunately, it looks like Valverde is not prepared to give up on Suarez just yet: "When success depends on the ball being 10 centimetres more to the right, the question is whether he's there or not having chances. We know that Luis is a goal scorer and it's about perseverance. He's insistent and aggressive and he always has chances to score. The only thing I ask him is that he keeps on going and doesn't give up. And I don't think that he will."

In our latest ‘The Barcelona Podcast’, we discussed the current situation in much more depth, as well as a way forward for the Uruguay striker. We focused on the need for trust, self-believe and improved calmness in front of goal. Listen here:

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