Ernesto Valverde insists Luis Suarez is still playing at his peak

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has said that Luis Suarez has been playing to the peak of his abilities. The Uruguay international had gone through a six-match spell without finding the scoresheet but he has managed to overturn his fortunes with six goals coming off his previous four appearances.

Out of those, two came during the away triumph at Rayo Vallecano where Barcelona had to come from behind and speaking after that game, Valverde was very pleased with the impact from Suarez, he said: “Luis Suarez has been playing at the top of his ability for a very long time," he told a news conference. Right now, he's scoring goals, more goals than perhaps before. We need him and we're extremely happy with him.”

During the recent goal drought, Suarez proved the perfect partner for Lionel Messi with his movement in the frontline. However, with the latter suffering an arm injury, he has managed to take more responsibility for the club’s performances and this has resulted him contributing six goals from the previous three league matches including a sublime hat-trick during the 5-1 humbling of arch-rivals Real Madrid.

With the result, “Barcelona have opened a four-point lead at the top of the league standings but that advantage could be shortened to just one“, should high-flying Alaves secure a victory at Eibar on Sunday. Meanwhile, the Blaugrana are also topping their Champions League group with nine points from their opening three matches and “they can assure themselves“ of knockout qualification with the first spot, should they get the better of Inter Milan in midweek.

Elsewhere, Lionel Messi has returned to training after suffering a recent arm injury but it remains unclear whether he would start the Tuesday night game against the Nerazzurri. Valverde has already confirmed that the Argentine would be included in the matchday squad for the European meeting.