Barcelona kick-start their Champions League campaign with a clash against PSV on Tuesday evening, and Ernesto Valverde has named a strong side as expected.
The Catalan giants have collected maximum points from their opening four La Liga games, and so confidence will be high heading into their first European game of the season.
Valverde hasn’t taken any risks as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele will lead the attack, with Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic in midfield.
It’s a first appearance in the Champions League in a Barcelona shirt for Coutinho, as after his January arrival from Liverpool, he was ineligible to feature for the club in the second half of last season.
Meanwhile, Samuel Umtiti and Gerard Pique will start in the heart of the defence, with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto providing the defensive quality and width on either flank. Marc-Andre ter Stegen completes the line-up as expected between the posts.
After their nightmare exit at the hands of Roma last year, Barcelona will undoubtedly be looking to make an early statement of intent that they are aiming to enjoy a deep run in this year’s competition.
Getting off to a positive start will certainly help with that, and so despite adding the likes of Arthur, Arturo Vidal and Clement Lenglet this past summer, Valverde has gone with the tried and tested options at his disposal in the hope that they can collect all three points against Mark van Bommel’s men as the Dutchman returns to his former club as a coach.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 18, 2018