Barcelona face Granada on Saturday night hoping to secure all three points and close the gap at the top of the La Liga table.
The Catalan giants held Borussia Dortmund to a draw in midweek in the Champions League as their struggles away from home continued.
In turn, coach Ernesto Valverde will undoubtedly be desperate to see them bounce back with a win this weekend, and unsurprisingly, he has named a strong starting line-up to ensure that happens.
However, there is no Lionel Messi despite the Barcelona talisman making his comeback from injury in Germany, as he has to settle for a place on the bench.
Junior Firpo comes in at left-back after Jordi Alba’s injury setback, while Ivan Rakitic comes into the midfield and Carles Perez starts in the attacking trident.
As seen in the responses below, the starting XI wasn’t met with universal approval by Barcelona fans, with many hitting out at Valverde over the decision not to start Messi in particular.
While it’s easy to understand their frustration given the indications during the week were that Messi would be in contention to start as he was in training with the rest of the group after the Dortmund game, it’s still a questionable decision to not include him.
Perhaps he isn’t fit enough just yet to start, and so it would come as no surprise if Valverde opts to bring him on in the second half if Barcelona are struggling.
Further, the midfield was a contentious area too as per the responses below, as many slammed the decision to start Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Roberto alongside Frenkie de Jong and so it remains to be seen if that trio can deliver or not.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 21, 2019
— Irina ? (@IrinaMaylander) September 21, 2019
Where is messi?
— Pradeep (@MahakalMessi) September 21, 2019
EV GET LOST
— Mohammed Lukhman (@MohammedLukhma2) September 21, 2019
No messi ?
— BarçaNation (@FCBNation08) September 21, 2019
— Abdullahi???? (@Abdullahi057) September 21, 2019
What a horrible Midfield
i don’t want to watch raki and Roberto.
Arthur must be a starter
— Club De Amigos (@PrimeLionel_) September 21, 2019
— Tomer (@T0mer_) September 21, 2019
— Nur (@Nuurfb) September 21, 2019
— Phillip.fc7 (@Fc7Phillip) September 21, 2019
— Justin ?? (@maxmullings) September 21, 2019
— Shubham Thakur (@shubham10thakur) September 21, 2019
Can’t u see that the coach sucks SMH…
— Stanley Osei?? (@StanleyOsei5) September 21, 2019
Wtf!!! Messi is not in the starting line up??
— Issa (@Issa38383999) September 21, 2019