Lionel Messi is set to start the second leg of Barcelona’s Copa del Rey quarter-final tie against Sevilla at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.
Barcelona will have a daunting task at their hands if they are to reach the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, when they play hosts to Sevilla at Camp Nou on Wednesday. Pablo Machin’s men hold a significant two-goal lead after the first leg last week, which leaves the hosts with very little room for error.
During his pre-match press conference, Ernesto Valverde did not provide any team news update, but did call for Barcelona fans to come out in full force on Wednesday so as to inspire the team to the big result.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) January 29, 2019
“We want to get through and we need to do well to get through. What’s clear in everything we’ve said is that we want to carry on in the competition, that’s clear. We know that in these games, when you’re behind, the support if the fans is crucial. At the end of the day football is made up of great moments and great matches. We would love to come back.”
The Barcelona boss does not have many injury concerns to deal with anyway, with Samuel Umtiti, Rafinha Alcantara and Ousmane Dembele the only players who remain sidelined. In addition to the trio, Valverde has chosen to leave Jeison Murillo out of the matchday squad, which has come as a surprise.
With Murillo excluded, Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet become the obvious choice to form the central defensive partnership for Barcelona. The full-backs are likely to be Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto, with Nelson Semedo being rested after being overworked of late.
Behind the back four, Jasper Cillessen should resume his usual duties for Copa del Rey fixtures in the Barcelona goal. In midfield, Valverde has all of his players available, apart from Denis Suarez, who is set to join Arsenal before the end of the transfer window.
As far as Wednesday’s team selection against Sevilla is concerned, Sergio Busquets is a certain start, as he will miss the weekend’s clash in La Liga. So is Arthur, who did not start against Girona last weekend. The final spot in the side is a toss-up between Carles Alena, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal, with Rakitic likely to get the nod on Wednesday.
Upfront, Philippe Coutinho and Lionel Messi are certain starters, with the former being called up yet again to overturn a first leg deficit in Copa del Rey. The final spot in the side will be contested between Kevin-Prince Boateng and Luis Suarez. Boateng could get a second chance, with Suarez being kept as an impact substitute.