Terry Gibson: Luis Suarez back to his best for impressive Barcelona

Terry Gibson thinks Luis Suarez is back to his “brilliant best” with Barcelona.

The striker struggled for form at the start of the season, but has scored 10 goals since the turn of the year.

And Sky Sports Spanish football expert Gibson has explained why he has been impressed by Suarez and Barcelona, who are still competing on three fronts this season.

“They have different attributes,” Gibson told La Liga Weekly podcast. “They don’t concede as many goals and they have a different make-up in midfield, but what has impressed me in general about Barcelona is that when they needed Lionel Messi most at the start of the season – when Suarez was out of form and [Ousmane] Dembele was injured – then Messi stepped up to the plate and they relied totally on him to get the goals. Now Suarez is back to his brilliant best and Messi is quite happy to be the creative player.

“I like the set-up in midfield, it makes them more solid out of possession. Ivan Rakitic was criticised at the start of the season but slowly but surely people must be realising he is an intelligent player who is technically very good and the position alongside Sergio Busquets suits him. He knows when to push forward and when to drop back. He is an outstanding footballer.

Watch highlights from Barcelona's win over Eibar

“Then there’s the partnership between Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti and Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal. They have definitely impressed me.”

Barcelona face Chelsea in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday, having beaten Eibar 2-0 on Saturday to maintain their seven-point lead at the top of La Liga.

Ernesto Valverde named a strong starting XI for the trip to Eibar, and Gibson said: “I got why he played that team.

“Firstly, Eibar are a good team, it’s a difficult place to play and they are in a good run of form. Valverde hasn’t won a trophy and he wants at least one. The league title is much coveted and they would be taking it back from Real Madrid. Winning is a great habit to have, even for Barcelona players who are used to it.

“Also, he has been making rotations and there has been a lack of fluidity in recent weeks. It gave the first XI a chance to get back together.”

Gibson added about Valverde: “His team selections have surprised me to a degree, I wasn’t sure how he was going to handle the situation with a big squad and talented players that all want to play but he seems to have the respect of the players and doesn’t care if he upsets one or two.”