Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has confirmed that winger Ousmane Dembele will be unavailable for the much anticipated second-leg clash between Liverpool and Barcelona on Tuesday evening.
According to The Metro, the Frenchman limped off early in Barca’s 2-0 loss to Celta Vigo last night, with a presumed torn muscle in his right thigh. Whilst he will be a loss for Barca, they still have unbelievable strength in depth with plenty of players available to replace the Frenchman. Valverde rested many key players in their loss to Celta Vigo, indicating that his sole focus is on the visit to Anfield.
Valverde spoke about the injury after the game stating:
“He is an important player for us and it is a major blow with the big games we have coming up. With Dembele, it looks like a tear, Dembele will miss the fixture at Anfield. We had already noticed during the play that something was not right. We were worried quickly because it seems like a muscular tear. It is certainly not muscle fatigue because the other day he played very little [in the game against Liverpool]. These things happen and as a coach I do not have an explanation.”
News of Dembele’s absence comes at a time where it seems likely that Liverpool star man, Mo Salah, will be unavailable for the Reds. Salah was stretchered off injured following a clash with Newcastle goalkeeper Martin Dubravka yesterday. Klopp also confirmed yesterday that striker Roberto Firmino has been unable to recover from a muscular injury, although has yet to be ruled out for the clash with Wolves on the final day.
Liverpool find themselves with a mountain to climb on Tuesday night and will need a huge performance to overturn the three goal deficit that they come into the game with. Whilst Dembele’s absence is undoubtedly a boost for the Reds, there are plenty of other world class players that need to be kept quiet in order to produce another European classic at Anfield.