Barcelona have always had a worrying track record with injuries and Ronald Koeman will have to do without some of his most important players after the international break. The Catalan giants will have to navigate a hectic schedule over the next few weeks and cannot afford to slip up in what is set to be an exciting title race.
Ronald Koeman has already experimented with his squad to a considerable extent and while a few of his efforts have yielded results, Barcelona have been largely underwhelming in domestic competitions so far. The Blaugrana did manage an emphatic 5-2 victory against Real Betis before the international break and will want to build on the victory with a positive performance against Atletico Madrid this weekend.
Philippe Coutinho set to make Barcelona return against Atletico Madrid on Saturday
Philippe Coutinho has been ruled out for nearly a month now after picking up an injury against Real Madrid a few weeks ago. The Brazilian midfielder has enjoyed a renaissance under Ronald Koeman this season and will be looking forward to returning to the fold against Atletico Madrid.
Coutinho is likely to take Pedri's place in Barcelona's starting eleven and will have to be at his best against a robust Atletico Madrid side. The former Liverpool star has built a good relationship with Lionel Messi this season and could make a massive difference for Barcelona this weekend.
The international break did result in a few negatives for Barcelona, however, as Sergio Busquets picked up an injury with Spain and has now been ruled out for a few weeks. Miralem Pjanic was acquired by Barcelona in the summer transfer window and the former Juventus man is set to partner Frenkie de Jong in Barcelona's midfield.
Ansu Fati underwent successful knee surgery and will have to spend the next four months on the sidelines. The La Masia prodigy has been exceptional for Barcelona this season and has been one of the highlights of their La Liga campaign. Ousmane Dembele has experienced a resurgence at Barcelona and will take his place in the starting eleven.
Barcelona are likely to persist with Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet at the heart of their defence with Ronald Araujo still injured at the moment. Samuel Umtiti has made progress with his recovery but is unlikely to find a place in Ronald Koeman's side.
Barcelona are currently in eighth place in the La Liga standings and need a string of victories to turn their season around. Ronald Koeman has introduced several young players to the team and will want to produce results in the next few weeks.
Published 20 Nov 2020, 21:07 IST