Through the beginning of the season, Luis Suarez has encountered his now yearly - “Suarez Slump”. Since joining Barcelona and serving a ban for his behavior on the field, Suarez has notoriously started campaigns slowly. Not in terms of his running or tenacity, but in terms of goals and assists contributed.
Recently though, Suarez has begun to pick up the pace, albeit for his national team - Uruguay. Against a young Mexican side, Suarez picked up two goals and an assist. With that in mind, Ernesto Valverde must keep in mind the striker’s age, as well as his competitive fire.
One of the focal points of Suarez’s game is his tenacity. As shown against Huesca, Suarez was aggressive and brilliant in all aspects of his play - pressing, passing, and finishing.
In every game he plays, he can be seen continually pressuring the opposition’s defensive backs, as well as their goalie. This sort of attitude is instrumental in understanding Suarez as a football player - he will run, run, and run until he can’t anymore.
While that is an understandable benefit, Valverde must also realize that Suarez is now 31 years old and will turn 32 in January.
In order to keep Suarez at a peak physical condition, as well as ensuring his play becomes less sporadic, it is time to consider how to rest Suarez throughout the year for the benefit of the entire team.
Yes, each game that Barcelona play in is crucial - when challenging for several trophies, this is apparent. But, in certain games, against weaker opposition, Valverde would be well suited to give Suarez some rest, especially when it is clear that he needs it.
With no true striker as his backup, Suarez will be key (as he has been in every year since joining) to Barcelona’s successes this season. There is nothing wrong with making sure that he is rested for those important matches.
Obviously, the competitive fire in him will surge and surely Suarez will not be happy - but when thinking about trophies, rest is necessary.
In conclusion, as Luis Suarez begins to decline in terms of physical fitness, the striker’s physical conditioning is something that will become of utmost importance especially with his style of aggressive play and pressing.
Knowing this, Valverde must know when to give the Uruguayan a rest and be able to rely on his brilliance in the biggest games - something that is not easy to do, but necessary. Visca Barca.