Barcelona starts their Champions League campaign with a home game against Brendan Rodgers’ Celtic on Tuesday. The two European giants were drawn into the group of death with Manchester City and Borussia Monchengladbach also in it. Barcelona, winners of the elite competition in Europe in 2014-15 season, were knocked out of the Champions League last season from the quarter-finals at the hands of Atletico Madrid while Celtic are back in the competition after two long years.
Barcelona are on the back of a shock 1-2 defeat at the hands of newly-promoted La Liga side Alaves on Saturday while Celtic will be high on confidence on their travel to Camp Nou thrashing rivals Rangers 5-1 in the Old Firm Derby. Barcelona, on paper, looks much stronger than Celtic but games are not won on paper and Luis Enrique cannot afford to take things lightly. He handled Alaves with complacency on Saturday and paid a price for it and Celtic, with a strong momentum on their side, can hurt the Blaugrana.
Here is The 4th Official’s predicted Barcelona lineup V Celtic.
Marc-Andre Ter Stegen is likely to start ahead of Jasper Cillessen under the bar. Sergi Roberto will make his way back to the starting XI in the right-back position replacing Aleix Vidal. Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti are likely to start at the heart of the defence after a torrid display from Mascherano and Mathieu against Alaves. Jordi Alba will also replace Digne in the left-back position.
Sergio Busquets will keep his place in defensive midfield. The Spaniard will face a strong battle for dominance in midfield with Brown and Bitton of Celtic. Andres Iniesta made his comeback from injury against Alaves as he came on from the bench later in the game. The Barcelona skipper will replace young Denis Suarez in midfield. Ivan Rakitic will keep his place in the middle of the park but has to come up with a much better showing.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez both started from the bench against Alaves and Luis Enrique paid a big price for it. The two South American geniuses will make their way back to the starting XI. Neymar will keep his place on the left while Messi and Suarez will start on the right and centrally respectively. ‘MSN’, the best attack in world football, is in line for their first start together this season and Rodgers must come up with a way to stop them.