Ernesto Valverde explains Lionel Messi absence

Ruben Hill
November 8, 2018

Messi would have arrived back in Barcelona during the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Skriniar and his teammates survived a Barcelona onslaught to secure a 1-1 draw in their Champions League tie on Tuesday night, putting them on the verge of the knockout stages. Liverpool travel to the French capital in their next game.

Barcelona have fared well in Messi's absence, winning their last four matches in all competitions and spectacularly beating rivals Real Madrid 5-1 in the first Clasico encounter of the season at Camp Nou - a result that led to the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

After three games, Inter Milan and Barcelona are in control of their Champions League group.

Messi, 31, has not played since breaking a bone in his arm in a win over Sevilla on October 20. But wins, in any form, can not be overlooked.

The more high-profile the opponent, the better Barcelona have played.

"There's the global break after this game and he'll have two more weeks".

Luis Suarez scored twice on Saturday, the second an 89th-minute victor to complete a late comeback against Rayo.

Hans Vanaken scored twice in the space of five first-half minutes to put the visitors firmly in control, and Wesley made it three with a superb curling shot to put the game beyond the Ligue 1 strugglers before half-time.

However, in football, you never know.

"I think we deserved more".

Inter struggled to string passes together under the weight of Barca's pressing, and Handanovic had to be at his best to stop fine efforts from Luis Suarez and former Inter player Philippe Coutinho putting the away side ahead before the break.

"The whole team has taken a step forward", the Spain global said.

He was poor when handed a rare outing against Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey last month while some have suggested Malcom was signed at the behest of the club, not coach Ernesto Valverde, who has started him only once so far this term.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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