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Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez are about to give ex-Liverpool star massive boost

Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi celebrate after scoring for Inter Miami.
-Credit: (Image: Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)


Lionel Messi and former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez could miss multiple MLS matches for Inter Miami this season because of international duty.

Messi will captain Argentina at the Copa America and will miss at least five MLS games as a result of his participation in that competition against Philadelphia Union, Colombus Crew, Nashville SC, Charlotte FC, and FC Cincinnati. Suarez, meanwhile, will be representing Uruguay at the same time, so he too will be absent domestically.

Argentina has been drawn against Peru, Chile and Canada in the group phase of the competition being held in the US. Uruguay will face the US, Panama and Bolivia.

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While in Europe the Premier League and other top leagues are usually scheduled around international commitments, with the Liverpool players involved in the Copa America and European Championship this summer not missing any fixtures for the Reds, the MLS runs at a different time in the year.

It is not unheard of that Liverpool players can miss matches for international duty, though, with Mohamed Salah having been at the Africa Cup of Nations earlier in 2024 and Wataru Endo captaining Japan at the Asia Cup at the same time. If Salah is selected to play for Egypt at the Olympic Games this summer, while he won't miss the start of the new season, he will miss a big chunk of pre-season.

Messi and Suarez's absence could have a positive impact for one former Liverpool player, though. Christian Benteke, who scored nine times in 29 appearances for the Reds, is currently second in the MLS goalscoring charts.

Now playing for DC United, Benteke is a goal ahead of both Suarez and Messi and he could pull away from both while they are away with their national teams. Cristian Arango of Real Salt Lake is two goals ahead of Benteke but has not been selected by Colombia so will be remaining put with the MLS side and could add to his 16-goal haul.

Liverpool.com says: Benteke was a strange signing for Liverpool and Brendan Rodgers never quite knew how to get the best out of him having pushed so hard to bring him in from Aston Villa. He never looked confident but there is a good player there, as shown by his record in the US.