Luis Suárez is still in the tunnel, searching desperately for a glimmer of light at the far end.
Suárez impotent as Olympiacos hold Barcelona
The Uruguayan gave his all as Barcelona were held to a goal-less draw by Olympiacos in Athens. Yet while Lionel Messi hit all of his five shots on target, Suárez failed to test the home goalkeeper with any of his seven attempts on goal. One chipped effort grazed the top of the crossbar, three shots flew wide of the target, and three more were blocked by defenders.
Ernesto Valverde says that he "likes" this version of Luis Suárez, who has scored three goals this campaign. But it is difficult to dispute that he has regressed in comparison to recent seasons. At this point in 2015-16 (after ten LaLiga matches and four Champions League matches) El Pistolero had already scored 11 goals. The figure for 2016-17 was nine goals. To present that information in an alternative way, this season he has scored 72.27 percent goals less than in 2015-16, and 66.6 percent less than in 2016-17.
The 30-year-old last found the net at the Wanda Metropolitano in the 1-1 draw against Atlético. Since then, he has been luckless in matches against Málaga, Athletic Club, and the home and away clashes with Olympiacos.
Fitness concerns to blame for Suárez' woes
It is a straighforward task to identify an explanation for Suárez' indifferent run of form: he is not at his physical peak. The former-Liverpool man has been carrying a knee complaint since the Spanish Super Cup against Real Madrid in August.
Suárez' position within Valverde's new 4-4-2 formation is, on the face of it, perfect for him. Although his starting position is slightly to the left, he is effectively free to move as he pleases. In Athens he played as a pure centre-forward. Yet he seemed anxious, absent from the match, and most alarmingly, woefully short on confidence. Right now, Luis Suárez is dazzled by the predicament he finds himself in.