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Luis Suarez injury could be a blessing for Barcelona

The Uruguayan was out of sorts against Athletic Bilbao

Athletic Club v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Frankly, that was pathetic.

The first opening day defeat in La Liga for 11 years, since the treble-winning season of 2008/09, and there was practically nothing to get excited about.

A trio of shots hitting the woodwork was just about as good as it got for Barca at San Mames.

Given that the Basques are usually the most accommodating of opponents for the Blaugrana - the last time Barca had been beaten in Bilbao in the league was over 60 years ago - the result is nothing short of disastrous.

It highlighted a number of issues that Ernesto Valverde will need to get to grips with in double quick time, and if he doesn’t want to have the fan base on his case any more than usual, he has got to step out of his comfort zone now.

One potential stroke of luck is the injury to Luis Suarez.

Before hitting the post thanks to a fortuitous back pass, the Uruguayan had done absolutely nothing in the game of note.

When he’s on his game, there’s no finer finisher, but those types of performances are becoming few and far between for El Pistolero.

Assuming Lionel Messi is soon back in the starting line-up, Valverde will now have options in terms of where he wishes to station the Argentinian and Antoine Griezmann. The Frenchman was quiet too, but at least showed a few flashes.

The overriding complaint from supporters remains that the senior players in the team are too comfortable.

Now Suarez is out of the picture, Valverde has to be strong enough to ensure that the status quo remains unless the centre-forward proves that he deserves a place ahead of any of the other attackers in the squad.

The only way Barcelona are going to avoid these sorts of results in the future is if every single player in the squad understands that their position is up for grabs.

I saw precious little hunger and desire from the group, albeit we were hit with something of a sucker punch right at the death.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen didn’t deserve that, the keeper probably the only player in the XI that can hold his head high after that 90 minutes.

The extent of Suarez’s injury will soon be known, and that will determine how long he is out for.

What that means is that there’s a place up for grabs if someone wants to step forward and show the Uruguayan how it’s done...

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