Considering it happened about bristles months ago it’s amazing how generally Barcelona’s Liverpool daydream still gets mentioned by the club’s supporters, players and directors.
As they adapt to face Villarreal on Tuesday night and try to put abaft them a alpha to the division that has apparent them bead to eighth, with the joint-worst arresting almanac in La Liga, already afresh it’s actuality dredged up.
The 4-0 defeat at Anfield was so actual about the end of drillmaster Ernesto Valverde. Had Lionel Messi backed a change of administrator it apparently would accept been.
Ernesto Valverde is beneath growing burden afterward Barcelona’s poor alpha to the season
The Barcelona bang-up is already relying on the acknowledgment of Lionel Messi to about-face the division around
Now, bristles amateur into the new season, the burden is on the Barcelona drillmaster afresh and he needs Messi to save him already more.
The almost-sacking of Valverde aftermost May was not aloof a knee-jerk acknowledgment to the 4-0 at Anfield.
It was additionally acceptance that Liverpool had absolutely got the bigger of Barcelona for continued spells of the aboriginal leg at the Camp Nou. Most bodies didn’t realise because Messi denticulate alert and Barcelona won 3-0.
But some bodies did apprehension and did not accept why Barcelona again fabricated abounding of the aforementioned mistakes in the additional leg.
Messi (centre) came on at half-time but couldn’t anticipate his ancillary accident 2-0 to Granada
Valverde concluded aftermost season, accident the cup to Valencia, still in a job, but alive that some doubted his adeptness to booty the club forward.
He was accustomed the signing of Antoine Griezmann in the summer – a amateur he had asked for, admitting two seasons earlier. And it seemed he had the abetment of his captain Messi.
Granada 2-0 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-2 Valencia
Osasuna 2-2 Barcelona
Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis
Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Barcelona
But there were two problems. First: Messi didn’t assume as agog on the Griezmann signing as Valverde; he acutely capital Neymar instead.
And secondly: Messi was afflicted anyhow and would not alpha the season.
Messi’s contempo absolute account with Diario Sport in Barcelona was cogent for assorted reasons. He about never gives bi-weekly interviews. He had best Sport – the cardboard abutting to Neymar and Neymar’s associates – to articulation his thoughts.
In the account Messi was asked: ‘Do you anticipate Barça did aggregate accessible to assurance him (Neymar)?’
He replied: ‘I don’t know, I absolutely don’t apperceive if they did aggregate possible. I didn’t accept abundant advice about how the negotiations were activity to say if Barcelona did aggregate possible. I would adulation Neymar to accept signed. Obviously he would accept added our possibilities of accepting the after-effects that we all want.’
Messi (L) tries to ascendancy the brawl as Antoine Griezmann watches on during Monday’s training
Asked if he had had the adventitious to get to apperceive Griezmann, he told Sport: ‘Very little. I came aback afflicted and did not alternation with the team. They went on bout and aback they came aback I accept not been in the aforementioned bathrobe allowance (as him) that much. But I am there in training (now). We will accept the adventitious to allotment abounding things.’ It was cold, absolutely a lot colder than the words apropos Neymar.
One Mundo Deportivo columnist wrote sarcastically today afterwards the weekend defeat: ‘I don’t apperceive if they (the players]) did all they could to exhausted Granada.’
Valverde needs a big Barcelona achievement on Tuesday and looks like handing Messi his aboriginal alpha in adjustment to maximise the affairs of that happening.
Visitors Villarreal are aloft Barcelona in the table and accept Santi Cazorla arena blithely in midfield. They will be difficult opponents for all that Barcelona’s home anatomy continues to be far bigger than abroad form.
Luis Suarez (L), Messi (C) and Valverde apperceive they accept a difficult division advanced of them
There is additionally the Ansu Fati factor. He has been a animation of beginning air for the aggregation and for the drillmaster who has been adventurous abundant to aces him.
But a kid not 17 until abutting month, can’t be accepted to backpack the season, and he’ll be off with Spain’s Under-17s abutting ages anyway. It charge abatement to Messi to about-face this division around.
‘We apprehend a continued and difficult year,’ said Luis Suarez in his post-match account on Saturday. He additionally needs to accept his bang accomplice aback alongside him soon, but as his best pal off the angle he will apperceive as able-bodied as anyone that Messi is not 100 per cent.
While Barcelona supporters were captivated to see him called ‘The Best’ in Milan on Monday his words were not absolutely reassuring.
Messi’s acknowledgment to fettle comes at a acceptable time with Valverde’s men accepting struggled so far
‘We are activity to go bit by bit. I acquainted tired, heavy-legged, after atom or rhythm,’ he said of his summer fettle problems.
‘It will all appear with account on the pitch. But I accept to booty it steady,’ he added.
Over the aftermost brace of years Messi has become the aberration amid Barcelona actuality angry and being, at times, unrecognizable. That was absolutely the case in the two amateur adjoin Liverpool at the end of aftermost season.
Barcelona are still adversity from that Anfield hangover bristles months on. Messi, for the club and the coach, is the alone abiding cure.
The Argentine (right) is the alone man who can save under-fire Valverde again
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