Malaga host Barcelona at the La Rosaleda Stadium on Saturday night in the La Liga
Barcelona have been in fine form in recent weeks and will be looking to keep up the pressure on La Liga leaders Real Madrid. The Catalans are only two points behind Los Blancos, who have played an extra game, so they cannot afford any slip-ups against Malaga.
The hosts have been on a dire run of form that has seen them win just 1 game in 6 fixtures – including 4 losses – and despite their all-important 1-0 victory over Sporting Gijon in midweek, Malaga will find it very hard to take any points away from the visitors.
Barcelona confirmed that Rafinha underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right knee and the midfielder will now miss a minimum of four months. Arda Turan is also out of action while Aleix Vidal remains sidelined after his season-ending injury.
Gerard Pique and Ivan Rakitic both picked up bookings against Sevilla in midweek and are suspended for this fixture, so Jeremy Mathieu comes back into the side and will likely start alongside Samuel Umtiti.
Luis Enrique does not have any other absentees through suspension on injury and will no doubt name a strong squad against Malaga as Barcelona cannot afford to drop any points in a title race that looks like it will go down to the wire.
However, Andres Iniesta could be handed a rest after featuring heavily in midweek which means Denis Suarez is the favourite to start in midfield alongside the resurgent Sergio Busquets and Andre Gomes.
Winger Keko, midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic and defender Bakary Kone will all miss out on the match against Barcelona while Recio and Juankar will both return to the side after serving a one-match ban and will likely come straight into the starting lineup.
Defender Miguel Torres faces a late fitness test for the match against Barcelona having missed out on the victory against Gijon due to an ankle injury, but should the defender not pass as fit, Federico Ricca will continue at left-back.