Luis Suarez had looked lacklustre during the early stages of the Copa America but picked his form up to fire Uruguay into the final, with two characteristic finishes. He is now joint top of the scoring charts in the competition, and on the brink of becoming a national hero
Whilst his form in the Copa America will delight Liverpool fans, the result of his actions may not, as it delays his return to England even further. His efforts mean the earliest he will now return to the UK is just three weeks before Liverpool’s Premier League opener against Sunderland.
Suarez wasted little time in establishing himself as an Anfield favourite with a series of glorious performances after joining in January and was pivotal to the red’s turn around in fortunes last season. Should he bring success to his country, he will return to Merseyside brimming with confidence, but there is a small cause for concern over his long-term fitness.
After an intense summer, having played eight games for the national side, it is likely that Kenny Dalglish will want Suarez to have some rest and recovery time, which could push his return to Merseyside back even further, throwing his participation in the seasons opener into doubt.
The worry for Liverpool is that he will return jaded-both physically and mentally-after a summer without much time off. Lucas Leiva is another who has been in action at the tournament and will also return to Liverpool late. This shouldn’t worry Liverpool too much as they do have much better strength in depth than previous years, so should be able to cope should Suarez and Lucas not be fit for the opener. They will certainly not want to rush either player back and risk potential injuries or burnout in the long run.
Suarez wouldn’t be the first to struggle after a heavy summer of matches. Javier Mascherano had a bad start to 2009 after returning from Argentina duty, and struggled for form in a Liverpool shirt for a while, complaining of tiredness, although he also wanted a move away from the red’s which probably affected his form as well.
It will be a long season for Suarez and Liverpool will want to look after their prize possession, to ensure they can get the best out of him. If that means giving him some time off at the start of the season to rest and recuperate and ensure he is in the best shape possible to face the vital season ahead, then surely that is what they will do.