How will Barcelona line up against Valencia?

Defence

Jasper Cillessen will feature in goal and you suspect Valverde will go for his strongest back four of Sergi Roberto, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti and Jordi Alba. Valverde tried to rest Roberto and Alba against Alaves at the weekend, but was forced to turn to the duo after his side went 1-0 down. The duo came on and helped changed the game and it would be a surprise if they did not start on Thursday.

With Thomas Vermaelen still injured it is likely Pique will partner Umtiti at the heart of the defence, although Yerry Mina is another option. However, whether Valverde is prepared to throw him straight into a semi-final clash remains to be seen.

Midfield

Andres Iniesta played the whole 90 minutes against Alaves on Sunday which suggests he may well get the night off on Thursday. New signing Philippe Coutinho could take his place and may start on the left, after failing to really shine out wide on the right against Alaves. Sergio Busquets was rested at the weekend and should return with Ivan Rakitic and Paulinho likely to make up a strong midfield.

Attack

Striker Paco Alcacer has made a welcome return to fitness and will be hoping for a start against Valencia. However, that would mean either Luis Suarez or Lionel Messi having to make way and with both men in good form that’s a tough call. Valverde has already shown this season he’s not afraid to bench Messi and it’s possible he could do so again, although he may just go for his strongest outfield line-up.

Possible starting XI: Cillessen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Paulinho, Coutinho; Messi, Suarez.

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