I received a review request from a journal I have previously reviewed for. In the request, they stated that the authors suggested me to be one of the reviewers, which I found slightly odd as the topic is not within my main area of expertise, rather on the outskirts (I still feel confident to review). Why authors from this topic would suggest me as a reviewer is unclear, as normally you would suggest reviewers that are very well aquainted with a topic, no? Could it be that this is simply not true, but rather the editors trying to make it more likely for me to accept the review by making it seem that someone especially asked for me? Is this something editors do? The journal is well respected in my field and not predatory.
No, this is not something that is common practice for editors.
Perhaps there is some editor, somewhere, who has decided that telling this kind of white lie is a good way to improve the acceptance rate of reviewers. However, it's not common practice, and I think it is too easily falsifiable to be something that would escape notice for long.
So what else might have happened?
The authors did indeed suggest you. Perhaps they misunderstood the scope of your expertise. Maybe they confused you with the other Sursula. Maybe they just thought you seemed nice.
The editor misread/misunderstood the information they saw. Often, editorial management systems will present various lists: the reviewers proposed by the authors, and other, 'suggested' reviewers generated automatically based on keyword-matching etc. An editor might select a name in one list and mistakenly assume it came from the other.
The editor mis-spoke. In fact, you were recommended by a declining reviewer. Sometimes people make suggestions that are quite wide of the mark: either because they haven't read the paper to understand what it's actually about, or because they just write down the first name that comes into their head.
The editor mis-clicked and used the wrong template. Often, editors will work from pre-written texts - either presented as options within the editorial management system, or just copied/pasted from a file on the editor's own computer. If you're handling lots of manuscripts, it's very easy to copy the wrong one, or to mix up which reviewer is supposed to get which message. Often, the UI on editorial management systems is fairly rubbish, so catching this kind of mistake can be hard.
Sometimes, authors are not confident of their data. Therefore, they suggest a reviewer outside their direct research field, hoping they won't find any flaws in the manuscript. Another reason is a tough competition where the authors don't want potential competitors to see their results and either benefit from this knowledge or give a negative review.
I experienced this twice with the MDPI journal "Nutrients". The handling editor of the respective articles told that me that I was "highly recommended by the corresponding author". It felt strange since I never had any contact with the person under discussion. Said person, however, is well known in my field. I assume that less experienced colleagues could be easily charmed by such an invitation. As discussed by Avid, such statements should generally be avoided in my opinion.
Could you clarify whether the journal under discussion (in your case) is new / relatively new? This could change things / perspectives.