Ernesto Valverde has no fresh injury concerns on his hands as Barcelona travel to Estadio Jose Alvalade to take on Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday.
Barcelona will be aiming to continue their perfect start to the season on Wednesday, when Sporting Lisbon, who are also unbeaten so far this season, host them at Estadio Jose Alvalade in a battle for the top spot in Group D.
Ernesto Valverde does not have any fresh injury concerns to deal with as he takes his squad to Lisbon, with only two players on the treatment table. Rafinha is close to regaining fitness as he continues his recovery from the knee injury that has kept him on the sidelines since April.
The major absentee Ousmane Dembele, though, is expected to remain out of action for at least the next two months due to the hamstring injury he sustained two weeks ago, although the Frenchman has had surgery to get the problem corrected.
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In Dembele’s absence, Gerard Deulofeu is expected to line up in attack alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, although Aleix Vidal is in contention as well. Meanwhile, out-of-favour trio Thomas Vermaelen, Paco Alcacer and Arda Turan have missed the cut and are not a part of the travelling squad.
Valverde has recalled Gerard Deulofeu and Nelson Semedo to his squad after the duo was rested for the trip to Girona on the weekend. And the Barcelona boss spoke about the Portuguese defender, who has adapted to life at Camp Nou admirably, in his pre-match press conference.
“He is a player who has adapted little by little to the team. At first it was difficult but that is normal and now he has improved a lot. Every time he plays, he helps us because he is a very pacey player.”
Valverde also talked about the danger that the hosts could pose on Wednesday as he added, “They are a strong team who had a great season last year. They are good in midfield and they work well on the counter as one of their strong points is their pace out wide.”
Meanwhile, Jorge Jesus has a clean bill of health ahead of the visit of Barcelona on Wednesday. Portuguese winger Daniel Podence is the latest player off the treatment table, having recovered from a finger injury he sustained against Maritimo two weeks ago.