Valverde: Suarez still at his peak

Luis Suarez's form is pleasing Ernesto Valverde after the forward led Barcelona past Rayo Vallecano.

Barcelona forward Luis Suarez scored a brace against Rayo Vallecano.   -  Getty Images

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde praised the in-form Luis Suarez after the forward's brace against Rayo Vallecano.

Suarez has stepped up with Lionel Messi sidelined due to injury and his double helped Barca to a hard-fought 3-2 win on Saturday.

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The Uruguay international has netted six times in his past four games, while he is LaLiga's top scorer with nine.

Valverde said the former Liverpool forward, 31, was still at his peak.

"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."

Barca were trailing 2-1 until the 87th minute, when Ousmane Dembele equalised, before Suarez's late heroics.

Valverde's men hold a four-point lead atop LaLiga, although Deportivo Alaves can close that gap to one on Sunday.

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