BARCELONA

Barcelona: No rest for Luis Suárez

Luis Suárez.

PAU BARRENA

AFP

The Uruguayan has played the full 90 minutes of the last four games - four games in 12 days. He's racked up 4,200 minutes playing time in a post-World Cup season.

Luis Suárez has not rested for a single minute during the past fortnight. The Barça striker sat out the Week 32 trip to Huesca through suspension but hasn't stopped since then. In 12 days, the Urguguayan has played the full 90 minutes of all four of Barcelona's matches in LaLiga and the Champions League - against Manchester United, Real Sociedad, Alavés and Levante. In total, he has racked up 3,952 minutes playing time in official competition for Barça plus an additional 248 minutes with Uruguay, which means he has spent 4,200 minutes on-field this season - not a typical one, as he was one of the players at last year's World Cup so he's had less time to rest.

No signs of fatigue

In spite of all that, Suárez has had a brilliant season and certainly doesn't look like he is suffering any kind of physical fatigue. But Wednesday's Champions League semi-final with Liverpool will exert the maximum from every player who takes to the pitch. There was talk of him possibly rested for the Levante game so that he would be fresh for the first leg of the Liverpool tie but Ernesto Valverde decided to play him and keep him fully engaged. The forward has been key to Barça's league and Cup campaigns but hasn't found the net in the Champions League in over a year and his last away goal in the competition was even further back.

In LaLiga, he has contributed 21 goals in 33 games on top of doing the lion's share of the spade work for Leo Messi. He was also instrumental in the team's Copa del Rey campaign - putting in a powerful performance in the return leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid at the Bernabéu. But goals have resisted in the Champions League. He came close to breaking his barren run against Manchester United at Old Trafford but his effort was given as an own goal. Suárez certainly knows what it feels like to score at Anfield and is equally as familiar with what European nights in L4 are all about. He hit 82 goals in 133 appearances during his three and a half seasons at Liverpool - he's doubled those figures in his five years at Camp Nou.   

Luis Suárez

Key players reserved

Messi, Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets have all been reserved at some point over the past two weeks while Luis Suárez has remained active - mainly because he has no natural understudy in the current Barça squad as Ousmane Dembélé and Philippe Coutinho compete against each other for the left wing position. We'll see on Wednesday whether the workload has been too much for Suárez or the rush of adrenalin will see him through.