The Uruguayan striker endured another frustrating night as the Blaugrana drew 0-0 at Olympiacos and he has only three goals to his name in 2017-18.
It may be Halloween, but Luis Suarez just isn’t scary any more. The Barcelona forward has scored only three times this season and none of those goals have come in the Champions League. Against Olympiacos, he had another forgettable evening.
Suarez started alongside Lionel Messi in a 4-4-2 formation that is being used increasingly by coach Ernesto Valverde. But again he failed to take advantage of the opportunities that came his way and his stats from the goalless game (only Barca’s second without scoring in the last 48 Champions League group matches) tell a sorry story.
From seven attempts in total, the Uruguayan was off target four times and saw three shots blocked. At least two of those were chances he would usually convert and on another occasion, he passed to Messi when he should have gone ahead and finished himself.
That play gave an indication of the forward’s lack of confidence right now and his form for Barca has to be a major worry. In 13 appearances this season, he has scored just three times and in the Champions League, he has no goals from his four matches.
“The more Suarez misses, the better,” Valverde said recently, before adding: “That means he is having chances.” Unfortunately, however, the Uruguayan looks to have taken the first part of that statement all too literally – and he is currently in the worst form of his Barcelona career.
After signing from Liverpool in the summer of 2014, Suarez was forced to wait for two months to make his Barcelona debut due to his ban for biting Italy’s Giorgio Chiellini at the World Cup in Brazil. But he went on to score 25 goals in 43 appearances in 2014-15 as Luis Enrique’s side won the treble.
The following season, he netted an incredible 59 times from 53 games, before an impressive 37 from 51 last term. His current numbers, three from 13, are way off either of those marks.
There are reasons for his struggles, of course. Suarez suffered a knee injury against Betis on the opening weekend of the season and probably rushed back too soon in order to turn out for Uruguay in the crucial World Cup qualifiers.
He has also been hit harder than anyone else by the departure of Neymar and the subsequent injury to summer signing Ousmane Dembele, who set up his goal against Espanyol. And on top of that, he has not been helped by constant changes to the system from Valverde and Messi’s return to the centre.
But Suarez at his best would not be affected by any of those things and Barcelona badly need that version of the Uruguayan back. Because with the 30-year-old on his current form, the Catalans are unlikely to win the Champions League.