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11 December 2023

Suarez stunner could be catalyst for more goals

Luis Suarez of FC Barcelona scores his team's fifth goal under a challenge by Ivan Ramis of Levante UD during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Levante UD at Camp Nou on February 15, 2015 in Barcelona, Spain. (Getty Images)

By Reuters

Luis Suarez's stunning goal last weekend was outshone by the exploits of hat-trick man Lionel Messi but the bicycle kick strike could be just what the Uruguay forward needed after a stuttering start in Spain.

Messi netted a record-equalling 23rd La Liga treble in the 5-0 victory at home to Levante before Suarez came off the bench and acrobatically smashed in what was only his fourth La Liga goal in 14 appearances this term.

Suarez has earned praise for his hard work and creativity - he has made five assists in Spain's top flight - but it was for his proven scoring ability that Barca lured him from Liverpool in the close season.

The 28-year-old has another chance to impress the fans at the Nou Camp in Saturday's game at home to Malaga and Barca will climb above Real Madrid, who play at Elche on Sunday, into top spot if they avoid defeat against the Andalusians.

Coach Luis Enrique should have Andres Iniesta, who missed the Levante game due to a bout of flu, available after the Spain playmaker returned to training on Wednesday.

Barca are looking to bounce back after they failed to win major silverware last season for the first time in six years and Iniesta said the team was well placed.

They are on the verge of a spot in the King's Cup final and through to face Manchester City in the Champions League last 16 and have a chance of repeating their historic treble under former coach Pep Guardiola in 2009.

"We're in a position to win it all," Iniesta said in an interview published on the FIFA website (www.fifa.com) this week.

"We're coming off a down year and that has really served as a motivator for us," he added.

"We're going to try and make sure this season ends happily, with titles in our pockets, and with the fans having fun again."

Champions Atletico Madrid, six points adrift of Barca in third, will look to rebound from last weekend's 2-0 reverse at Celta Vigo when they host Almeria on Saturday.

Valencia are three points further back in fourth and play at bottom side Cordoba on Saturday.