Ex-Liverpool star Luis Suarez the main reason Lionel Messi is thriving

The Uruguayan’s movement off the ball has opened space for the Argentine to exploit this term.

Lionel Messi’s unbelievable form for Barcelona since the turn of the year has had many state that the Argentine star is playing some of the best football of his career.

However, the role that former Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has played in this should not be overlooked.

Although Messi’s feats of individualism often catch the eye, the Argentina international has benefitted massively from the presence of the Uruguayan.

Shifted back to a role on the right flank, Messi has prospered due to the additional space he is afforded as a result of Suarez’s running off the ball.

Last season the Catalan side were guilty of overplaying in front of opposition defences and as such the game became very cluttered centrally - eating up Messi’s space.

This season, with the former Kop hero offering a real threat in behind Barcelona’s rivals, opposition defences have been forced to drop deeper to deal with the risk of Suarez’s off-the-ball running.

The four-time Ballon d’Or winner in turn has thrived by coming off the flank and into the number ten role, with more time and space to influence proceedings.

The link-up play between the pair has been significant, while it is clear to see that Suarez has offered Barcelona a distinctive skillset that has allowed the Catalan club to stretch opponents and therefore unleash Messi.

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