By Brian Homewood
YOKOHAMA (Reuters) – Barcelona coach Luis Enrique described Luis Suarez as “a penalty area assassin” after the Uruguayan grabbed a hat-trick in a 3-0 win over China’s Guangzhou Evergrande in the Club World Cup semi-finals on Thursday.
Suarez, relishing the added responsibility in attack after Lionel Messi missed the game with the Asian champions through illness and Neymar because of injury, became the first player to notch a treble since the tournament started in 2005.
The former Liverpool player has struck 22 goals in 23 matches in all competitions this season including 15 in his last 10 games.
“Luis is a penalty area assassin, a killer, capable of resolving any situation that crops up in the area,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“If we also consider the pressure he puts on defenders by closing them down and the way he encourages the others, then he is indispensable.”
Luis Enrique was unsure whether Messi, who is suffering from abdominal pain, or Neymar would be fit for Sunday’s final against South American champions River Plate.
“I really don’t know if they will be available but the important thing is we have the resources (to break down the defence),” said the coach.
“We took this very seriously, we were very efficient and made almost no mistakes.”
(Editing by Tony Jimenez)