Are Luis Suarez’s Struggles At Barcelona This Season Linked to Neymar’s Departure?

Overshadowed by the violence and brutality displayed by the Spanish authorities in attempting to prevent Catalans from voting in their state’s independence referendum, which resulted in a harrowingly empty Camp Nou and 3-0 victory over Las Palmas effectively played behind closed doors, Luis Suarez finally reached boiling point on Sunday afternoon by ripping off his shirt and leaving the pitch after dragging a late chance past the post.

It remains hard to gauge whether the Uruguayan would have reacted in this manner in front of a full capacity crowd and without the points already in the bag. Indisputable however are Suarez’s blatant struggles this season and an accompanying lack of form and goalscoring success.

Are these developments a result of Neymar’s summer departure? Which brought with it a void in quality down the left-hand side from where the Brazilian provided endless creativity for the target man.

Probably not. The chances have still been there, as communicated by 23 goals in seven matches and a perfect start from Barça, it’s just that Suarez is not putting them away.

Quite simply, arguably the world’s best striker on his day is down on his luck and will have to ride out this lull in form until hopefully resuming business as usual.

Nou Camp insiders aren’t oblivious to his misfortunes either, with Lionel Messi apparently discussing Suarez’s performance with coach Ernesto Valverde – so claim the Spanish press – and fans debating amongst themselves whether Suarez should be dropped until he identifies where he’s going wrong.

Not that it isn’t for want of trying either. As always, Suarez puts his heart and soul into every minute he plays with Sunday’s barbaric shirt tearing a culmination of this mixed with ongoing frustration.

Perhaps, not for the first time, the footballing world is jumping the gun and getting ahead of itself. Two goals in eight games may be poor for Suarez, who has been pretty faultless for Barça since his £75million arrival from Liverpool three years ago, but is by no means a crisis with many other strikers comfortably making a living off such modest returns.

Barcelona’s other attacking options firing on all cylinders, with Lionel Messi appearing to be on a one-man crusade to drag his team back to the summit of club football by almost scoring more goals than the whole of Real Madrid put together, Suarez has time to identify his issues without harming Barcelona’s progress.

He remains blasé about the whole affair, naturally goaded by the media but refusing to bite the bait whilst preferring to focus on the Blaugrana’s overall success as a squad as opposed to his own personal exploits.

Second in the CONMEBOL Qualifying group, relatively easy fixtures against Venezuela and Bolivia on international duty with Uruguay provide the perfect opportunity for Suarez to regain some confidence and make his way onto the scoresheet. After football was suspended indefinitely last week in the wake of two referees being attacked by players and spectators though, morale is hardly in the best shape back in his homeland presently.

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