The international break is over and Barcelona return to La Liga action with a trip to Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday to face Atletico Madrid.
The Spanish giants have won just three league games in 2020/21, losing twice and drawing the other two, and they will be keen to secure all three points at the expense of Diego Simeone’s side as they look to get their title challenge back on track.
Meanwhile, Atletico are yet to suffer defeat in the La Liga this term, winning five games and drawing twice, and a victory over Barcelona will be seen as a huge statement of intent.
Rojiblancos’ last league win over the Cules came in February 2010, and Simeone will fancy his chances of finally securing his first La Liga victory over Barca given the different forms of both teams heading into the clash.
Atletico will be without Uruguayan duo Luis Suarez and Lucas Torreira after they both tested positive for coronavirus, and the former will be gutted to miss out on a reunion with his former side.
Sime Vrsaljko and Hector Herrera are both out injured, while it remains to be seen whether the trio of Stefan Savic, Diego Costa and Vitolo will be available for selection.
Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman handed Lionel Messi, Frenkie de Jong and Miralem Pjanic extra rest after they returned from the international break, with the trio given permission to miss Thursday’s training session.
However, they are expected to join the group for Friday’s training ahead of tomorrow’s trip.
Sergio Busquets is out with a knee sprain, while Ansu Fati is set to be unavailable until March following an operation.
Philippe Coutinho is set to return to the matchday squad after being passed fit this week, but Samuel Umtiti could miss out having only recently returned to training.
Predicted Barcelona XI
Alba Lenglet Pique Dest
Pjanic De Jong
Pedri Messi Dembele
Predicted Atletico XI
Hermoso, Gimenez, Savic, Trippier
Koke, Llorente, Correa
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