Game Previews

Luis Suárez benched as Barcelona ready up for post-pandemic football

Camp Nou, the home ground of FC Barcelona / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM
Camp Nou, the home ground of FC Barcelona / OMAR HAWWASH/BLAUGRANAGRAM

As FC Barcelona get ready to face RCD Mallorca Saturday night, Luis Suárez, who recently returned from injury, takes place on the bench.

The first post-pandemic game in LaLiga Santander took place last Thursday, as Real Betis took on Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Lucas Ocampos calmly scored from the spot to give the home team the lead, with Fernando making it 2-0 merely six minutes later.

Since then, Getafe, Valencia, Espanyol, Villarreal, Celta Vigo and Leganés, among others, have all played their first post-pandemic games.

And Saturday night marks Barcelona’s return to league action, as they take on Mallorca at the newly-renamed Visit Mallorca Estadi, previously known as the Son Moix.

The squad list for Barcelona was recently announced, with several youngsters making the cut, including the likes of Riqui Puig, Álex Collado, Ronald Araujo and Monchu. Clément Lenglet, as he carries a suspension for an accumulation of too many yellow cards over the course of the current league campaign.

Saturday evening, the Catalans’ starting lineup has been announced, as can be seen below. Luis Suárez is taking place on the bench, having just recently returned from an injury that kept the Uruguayan sidelined since January.

Marc-André ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Gerard Piqué, Ronald Araujo, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Frenkie de Jong, Arturo Vidal; Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, Martin Braithwaite.

The bench can extraordinarily include 12 players instead of 7, with teams now being allowed to make five changes in personnel instead of three.

On Barcelona’s bench are Neto, Iñaki Peña, Nélson Semedo, Samuel Umtiti, Monchu, Junior Firpo, Riqui Puig, Álex Collado, Luis Suárez, Ansu Fati, Ivan Rakitić, and Arthur Melo.

As for Mallorca, the starting eleven is as follows.

Manolo Reina; Carlos Sastre, Antonio Raíllo, Martin Valjent, Álex Pozo; Marc Pedraza, Dani Rodríguez, Salva Sevilla, Take Kubo; Cucho Hernández, Ante Budimir.

On the bench for Mallorca are Miquel Parera, Abdón Prats, Fran Gámez, Iddrisu Baba, Xisco Campos, Aleksandar Sedlar, Josep Señé, Lago Junior, Yannis Salibur, Aleix Febas, Aleksandar Trajkovski and Pablo Chavarría.

The game will be played behind closed doors, as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, and will begin at 10:00 PM local time.