Defending La Liga champions Barcelona have been given a crucial boost in their title defence, with the return from injury of Luis Suarez.
The 33-year old has been out of action after undergoing surgery on a persistent knee injury back in January.
The club opted to sanction the operation amid concerns the problem could worsen if he waited until the end of the season.
Barcelona failed to sign an attacking replacement for the Uruguayan international, following Ousmane Dembele’s own return to fitness.
But his later injury pushed La Blaugrana to controversially sign an emergency player outside of the designated transfer window.
Their move for Leganes’ Martin Braithwaite angered Javier Aguirre, as his relegation battlers were unable to replace the Danish international.
However, the La Liga coronavirus suspension has now opened up the possibility of Suarez returning before the end of the season.
That would break key stipulation which facilitated Braithwaite’s arrival, with Barcelona having to prove ‘season ending’ injuries to both Suarez and Dembele.
The former Liverpool man confirmed in a interview with Canal*, via Marca, he has started training again, and will return to the team when football resumes.
La Liga have not set a date for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, with dates in May and June currently under consideration.
Barcelona are two points ahead of arch rivals Real Madrid in title race, but with 11 games still to play.
Quique Setien’s side also have a Champions League last 16 clash against Napoli, potentially earmarked for early August.
The return of Suarez could prove to be a significant advantage for the Catalan side in their season run in.
Barcelona have struggled for goals in his absence, scoring more than two goals in just two of their eight La Liga games in 2020.
This has placed even more pressure on Lionel Messi to maintain their title push, with Ansu Fati the only other player to score more than one league goal this calendar year.
Suarez’s record in front of goal has been key for Barcelona in recent seasons, with 20+ league goals in each of the last four seasons.
And his late season goal scoring form presents a really exciting option in sportsbook offers, with 28 league goals in run ins across the last four years.
That consistency will reduce the intense focus on Messi, and could open up vital spaces and goal scoring chances for Fati and Antoine Griezmann, as Setien looks to secure a major title inside his first six months in charge.