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El Pistolero still firing for Barcelona

Luis Suarez was on song against Real Betis

Real Betis Balompie v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images

It’s a night that will be remembered for Lionel Messi’s astonishing hat-trick, but on Sunday against Real Betis, Luis Suarez also played his part in Barcelona’s rampant 4-1 victory.

There’s been a lot of noise surrounding the Uruguayan lately, particularly concerning his Champions League contributions, but there’s never been any doubting his quality.

All strikers go through dry spells and to that end Suarez is no different.

Where he is markedly different to his striking contemporaries, however, is his range of skills. Name me one other centre-forward that has the same type of arsenal in his locker...

At a crucial stage in the game, leading into half-time, it was Suarez’s intervention which allowed Barcelona to go into the break in a much more comfortable frame of mind.

To have the foresight to know that Messi would be running in behind him and then execute a perfect back-heel pass directly into his path with two defenders in the closest proximity...

On any other night we’d all still be talking about that and the incredible run and goal for Barca’s third, taking out three defenders on his way to dispatching a shot low and hard to Pau Lopez’s right.

Some will still suggest that the chances he missed should be gobbled up by a player of his quality but, frankly, that’s being facetious at best.

He is a perfect foil for Messi in particular but his other colleagues too. His hold-up play is second to none, and he is a master of the dark arts which shouldn’t be overlooked either.

He’s getting no younger of course, and the danger with Suarez is that him lasting the entire season with barely any down time could prove problematic.

Injured towards the end of the match, it may prove to be a blessing that he’s not going away with Uruguay during this international break.

Two weeks of recharging the batteries could be just what the doctor ordered, and will keep him fresh for the series of big matches that are on the horizon.

Make no mistake, Luis Suarez will be needed against Manchester United and Atletico Madrid so keeping him fresh is imperative.

For all of Messi’s genius, against those two teams in particular Ernesto Valverde has to have someone to ruffle a few feathers and get into the opposition from minute one.

There’s no one better at it than Suarez, and he has all the motivation he needs at this stage of the season to go on and finish the campaign strongly.

Rest assured, no one will be talking about leanness in front of goal come May.

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