Luis Suarez shows improvement since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona

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Since leaving Liverpool for Barcelona, Luis Suarez has only enhanced his global reputation. It has been two seasons since he departed in a £75million deal but he will finally get the chance to play the team he once almost drove to unprecedented success.

Liverpool and Barcelona face off at Wembley Stadium on Saturday evening in the latest glamour friendly to fall under the International Champions Cup name. It will be the penultimate game before Jurgen Klopp starts his first full Premier League campaign against Arsenal and will provide the ultimate test for his players.

While playing against the likes of Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta represent significant challenges for the likes of Dejan Lovren and Joel Matip, all eyes are likely to be on the South American spearhead in Luis Enrique's incredible attack.

Suarez left Anfield a fallen hero. He had come so close to firing Liverpool to their first Premier League title, earning the Golden Boot in the process. He was widely regarded as the best striker in the world but returned from the World Cup with a four-month global ban for biting Italy's Georgio Chiellini.

Barcelona's outlay was a significant risk. There was no telling how the Uruguayan would deal with four months of no football while another controversial incident could prove a disaster for Barcelona's commercial viability. But the risk has well and truly paid off. 

He became the first player since 2009 to break the Messi-Ronaldo dynasty in the race for La Liga's Golden Boot, scoring 40 goals on his way to winning the title. He also picked up the Golden Shoe, awarded to Europe's most prolific attacker.

But which Luis Suarez is better? Indeed, almost anyone could score at least a handful of goals playing alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar. Were his feats at Liverpool greater than what he has achieved at Camp Nou? We take a look at the key statistics to find out.

The Goals

The best place to start is where Suarez makes his living, scoring goals. Suarez spent just three-and-a-half seasons at Anfield but still managed to leave with 82 goals to his name. That puts him 19th on their all-time list, but the speed in which he reached it means his standing in Liverpool's folklore will be much more prominent.

At Barcelona, his proficiency has only improved. Two seasons in and his already has 84 goals, averaging an incredible 42 goals each season despite missing much of the first half of his first campaign. He averaged 0.61 goals-a-game at Anfield while at Barcelona it is a rather amazing 0.89.

But there are significant differences between the two clubs. Indeed, many of Suarez's goals for Barcelona have come in competitions other than the domestic league. As a result, his Premier League exploits far outweigh what he has done in La Liga. He scored 69 goals in his three-and-a-half years in England while he has 56 goals in Spain's top flight. Few would bet against him beating that tally in the forthcoming campaign.


Unfortunately, lack of silverware was the main reason for Suarez's departure from Anfield. He left with just a League Cup to his name but the records do not show just how close he came to lifting the Premier League title.

Individually, he did rather well for himself, winning the PFA Player of the Year and the Football Writer's Association Award in 2014. He also won Liverpool's individual player of the season award twice and the aforementioned Golden Boot.

The individual accolades have continued to arrive in Spain but it is the winner's medals he'll be concerned with. Two La Liga titles, two Copa del Reys, one Champions League and a FIFA World Cup Championship caps a rather impressive haul for the striker. It is, of course, a team game but Suarez played a significant role in winning those trophies.

Sensational games

While Suarez has always been a consistent performer, he always has the potential to blow away the opposition. So comparing his most stunning performances makes for an interesting read.

Wednesday 4 December 2013. Liverpool were attempting to get involved in the title race with Arsenal leading the table by a clear four points. They faced Norwich at home, a team Suarez loved to play against.

He scored four goals in a 5-1 win, including a rather spectacular 40-yard volley. It announced him as the Premier League's best player and Liverpool as title contenders.

But does it compare to that game against Valencia? You know the one. The 7-0 drubbing that left Gary Neville staring at a life in the managerial wilderness. Suarez also scored four that night but also created the other three. Valencia were awful but Suarez was truly brilliant.  

Value for money

It is hard for anyone costing £75million to provide value for money but Suarez has set the perfect example of how to do it. Suarez has not only kept Barcelona above the strengthening Madrid clubs but has also helped to take some of the load from Messi.

No longer is the Argentinian under immense pressure to perform while Neymar has, similarly, being given some more time to hone his incredible talent slightly off of the main stage. Not only that, but he has started to straighten up and fly right. He appears much calmer on the pitch and the man who bit Branislav Ivanovic and Chiellini seems to have gone for good.

But Liverpool can claim to have made one of the best signings in Premier League history. Of course, there are those who believe Brendan Rodgers wasted much of the money generated from his sale but a world-class striker is always going to be a rare commodity. Finding one for under £25m is, by today's prices, unthinkable.

Suarez has been incredible for both Liverpool and Barcelona, but his performances have been enhanced by the world-class players he now has around him. The Suarez of today may not be as important to the team as he was at Liverpool but he has undoubtedly improved.

But is it enough to win the FIFA Ballon d'Or?

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Steven Gerrard
La Liga
Luis Suarez
Premier League
Lionel Messi

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