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Celta-Barcelona

Barça: Valverde could rest Messi, Suárez and Piqué at Celta

Ernesto Valverde durante un entrenamiento del Barcelona.

ALBERT GEA

REUTERS

The Barcelona manager has called Iñaki Peña, Moussa Wague, Oriol Busquets, Collado, Riqui Puig, Carles Pérez and Abel Ruiz up for first team training.

Barcelona returned to training on Thursday morning after carving out a 3-0 advantage over Liverpool in the Champions League semi-final, first leg encounter at Camp Nou with the minds of all focused firmly on the return leg next week at Anfield.

Memories of the collapse in Rome last season are still burned into the collective memory, Barça travelling to the Eternal City with a 4-1 home win under their belts only to lose 3-0 in the Stadio Olimpico, a result Luis Suárez blamed on fatigue.

Ernesto Valverde will do his utmost to ensure that doesn’t happen again this year, aware of the potential Liverpool have for blowing opponents away in 15-20 minute spells of high-tempo attacking football. With that in mind, a barely recognizable Barcelona side will line up at Balaídos this weekend to play Celta Vigo, who are not entirely out of the relegation picture despite a recent upturn in results.

Celta to face Barça B in Balaídos

With Barcelona already crowned Liga champions, Valverde called up Barça B players Iñaki Peña, Moussa Wague, Oriol Busquets, Álex Collado, Riqui Puig, Carles Pérez and Abel Ruiz.

While not all will make the squad, which will be announced on Friday, Valverde is likely to rest Leo Messi, Luis Suárez, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué and Ivan Rakitic in Balaídos, with Jasper Cillessen deputizing for Marc-André ter Stegen in goal.

The only real doubt for Valverde is whether to risk Ousmane Dembélé, who came off the bench against Liverpool but could be in for a start at Anfield in light of Philippe Coutinho’s lack of form.

Possible Barcelona XI to play Celta Vigo

Cillessen; Todibo, Vermaelen, Umtiti, Wague; Arthur, Aleñá, Malcom; Riqui Puig, Dembélé, Boateng.