It’s not often that Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi is blamed for something negative, but that’s the case on this occasion.
Things are going well for Ernesto Valverde’s side so far this season, as they sit top of the La Liga table and their Champions League group.
Unsurprisingly, Messi has been an important part of that as he’s been in fine form with 16 goals and five assists in 15 appearances in all competitions.
The same can’t be said for his teammate Luis Suarez though, with the 30-year-old experiencing a barren run compared to his usual high output so far this season as he’s managed to find the back of the net just three times in 12 outings.
Barcelona will need more from the Uruguayan international across the season to stay in the hunt for the major trophies, but Sky Sports pundit Guillem Balague believes that the way Valverde has set up the Catalan giants this season, it’s likely to continue to have a negative impact on Suarez’s influence with Messi’s positional change key.
“They are playing without wingers, which tightens everything up in the central areas. With little space to work, their play becomes more industrial and Luis Suarez suffers,” he told Sky Sports.
“Now that Lionel Messi is working more through the middle, Suarez has to move wider. That’s not his natural habitat.”
It’s a fine balance for Barcelona as ultimately the most important thing is that they continue to win games and remain in front in their pursuit of honours this season.
However, are they more likely to do that with an in-form Suarez leading the line and scoring goals regularly? The answer is arguably yes, although using him to allow Messi to be most effective is also a smart move, similar to the role that Karim Benzema does at Real Madrid in order to allow Cristiano Ronaldo to be the main man.
Admittedly, they’re very different players and there are different circumstances at each club, but the ideal scenario is that Suarez can adapt and regain his goalscoring touch without Valverde having to tweak anything.