Liverpool v Barcelona: Suarez’s returning teammates to be critical

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Much of the talk ahead of Liverpool’s International Champions Cup game with Barcelona has revolved around Luis Suarez facing his former club for the first time, but it is the probable appearance of many of the Uruguayan’s top-level teammates that appears to give the Spanish side the edge at Wembley.

Suarez has already appeared in the competition in the 3-1 triumph over Celtic and 4-2 victory over Leicester, scoring in the latter and providing a stunning aerial pass to assist another goal for strike partner Munir.

It is 1/1 that the 29-year-old scores at any time against Liverpool, 3/1 that he opens the scoring and 16/1 that he helps himself to a hat-trick.

Yet it isn’t just the expected involvement of Suarez that makes Barcelona a decent price at 8/13 to make it three from three in the tournament.

For the first time this summer, the likes of goalkeepers Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Claudio Bravo, defenders Thomas Vermaelen and Lucas Digne and key midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Andres Iniesta will be at Luis Enrique’s disposal.

There is a clear reduction in the number of youth and reserve players in the Barca squad to face Liverpool in comparison to the Celtic and Leicester fixtures previously. Although there will be no Neymar, who is representing Brazil at the Olympics. He and Samuel Umtiti look the only significant absentees for the Spaniards.

As for Liverpool, this is the final chance for Jurgen Klopp to run the rule over a significantly-changed squad prior to their opening Premier League tussle of the season away at Arsenal on August 14th.

Klopp has frequently rotated his side throughout the summer. We can expect plenty of substitutions as the game wears, but new signings Sadio Mane, Georginio Wijnaldum, and Ragnar Klavan should all feature from the start.

Liverpool are 4/1 to gain a confidence-boosting victory, after a dreary 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in the competition and a 2-0 success over AC Milan. The Reds have also been beaten 2-1 in a recent friendly by Roma.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.