Suarez has yet to play under Setien, having had his operation straight after Enesto Valverde’s final game in charge, and the 61-year-old has never worked with a striker like Luis.
Apart from a comprehensive 5-0 win over Eibar in late February, all of Setien’s league wins as Barcelona coach have been achieved by a single goal. And even Lionel Messi has not looked quite himself in the absence of Suarez.
Physically, the Uruguayan is not the player he was in his first seasons at Camp Nou, yet he remains one of the world’s finest finishers — a player who can conjure up something out of nothing.
In addition, his understanding with Messi was absolutely key to Barca’s best performances under Valverde and the same should apply with Setien in charge.
That Eibar match — in which Messi scored four — notwithstanding, the Argentine looked lost at times in the absence of his friend and chief associate in attack. Their rapport around the area is almost telepathic and the presence of Suarez creates extra spaces for Leo. He has been badly missed.
Messi has already won LaLiga 10 times and Suarez has claimed the title in four out of his five seasons at the Catalan club. Their partnership will be essential once again.
The enforced break should also, in theory, have given the players more time to familiarise themselves with Setien’s ideas.
“Let’s hope the message from the coaches gets through,” he said on Friday. “The information we give them has to be processed. Sometimes you achieve things. This is a process of improving.”
Barca’s players will also be rested and Messi’s minor knock last week is not considered to be a concern after he trained normally from Monday.
Meanwhile, the team’s problems away from home earlier in the season should now be less of an issue as games are played behind closed doors, something which will favour the bigger sides.
All of that is positive and there are plenty of reasons to believe Barca will claim the title once again, although there is one area where the Catalans are at a significant disadvantage to Real Madrid in the race for LaLiga: squad strength.
Both Gerard Pique and Sergio Busquets have complained publicly about the squad planning and lack of numbers this term, with the players unhappy at preparations for the season by the board and technical staff last summer.
Striker Martin Braithwaite was brought in as an emergency signing in February after Ousmane Dembele was ruled out for six months (and deregistered for LaLiga, meaning he cannot feature in the competition again in 2019-20).
But Abel Ruiz and Carles Perez both left in January and Barca are left with about 17 senior players, which includes two goalkeepers, plus 17-year-old Ansu Fati, 20-year-old Riqui Puig and a few more youngsters.
Ahead of a hectic period in which Barca will play 11 fixtures in just 37 days, Setien’s squad will be stretched — especially in the event of injuries — and in that department, Madrid are better off as Zinedine Zidane has a much deeper roster at his disposal.
Barca also still face tough trips to Sevilla and Villarreal, plus a home game against Atletico in a run of fixtures which looks tougher on paper than the games left for their title rivals.
“Even though we have a two-point lead, it’s a new competition now,” defender Clement Lenglet said last week.
Managing resources, particularly Messi and Suarez, will be vital for Barcelona in their hopes of retaining the title.