Former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez says he’s relishing the prospect of playing against the Reds in their upcoming friendly clash against FC Barcelona at the Wembley Stadium.
The Uruguayan will be lining up against his former club for the first time since a £65 million move to the Camp Nou. Prior to that move, Suarez gave everyone connected with Liverpool three-and-a-half memorable years, scoring 82 goals in 133 appearances – 31 of which came in the 2013/14 season, when the Reds came close to winning the Premier League title.
Looking at that goal record and keeping in mind what Suarez is capable of, it’s hard to see why anyone from Liverpool’s current squad – particularly defenders – would be excited to see the Barcelona striker. Either way, Suarez is excited to see the people who make up what has already become an important part of his life.
“It’s a really nice moment for the supporters. I have some friends there and I think it’s a really good moment to come back to play against Liverpool,” Suarez told the club’s official website.
“I think for players when you play in front of 90,000 people, it’s a dream. Liverpool’s support is one of the best in the world and I think they are excited for the game to see great players on the pitch.
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“Everybody knows Liverpool is so important in my life, in my career, and my family as well. My second child was born there and I had a really good moment there. I think it’s a nice moment for me.”
Whilst the 29-year-old has been living his dream of winning domestic and continental titles at the Camp Nou, his former club have been experiencing a phase of transition both on and off the pitch. This transition has seen multiple players come in and out of the Anfield door and a new manager in Jürgen Klopp take over. In light of Liverpool’s good performances and significant improvements in Klopp’s short tenure at the club, Suarez insists the German can lead the Reds back to the Champions League next season.
“The last few months, everybody saw a really good performance from Liverpool,” he added.
“They had a chance to win the Europa League and in the Premier League they played really well. Now it’s a new season, I think the manager [will] have confidence they can finish in the top four.”
That, amongst other achievements, is a target for the Merseyside club but what about Suarez’s targets?
The Uruguayan had a golden 2015/16 campaign where individual achievements are concerned. Suarez was the top goal scorer in all of Europe’s five major leagues, scoring 40 goals in La Liga and becoming the first player since 2009 to finish ahead of both Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in the goal-scoring charts. That obviously means the striker will have his eye set on either equaling his record or bettering it as Barcelona look to defend their Spanish league and cup crowns next season.
Back to earth with Liverpool though and ahead of an opening Premier League match at Arsenal, a fixture against one of the world’s best sides represents a more than tough test for Klopp’s men and with the German insisting he’ll make full use of this and his side’s last pre-season outing against Bundesliga club Mainz, it will be interesting to see how the Reds can cope with the challenge.