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Sport Barcelona's Valverde considers risking Iniesta for Chelsea Champions League clash

21:27  13 march  2018
21:27  13 march  2018 Source:

Liverpool held 0-0 by Porto, into Champions League quarters

  Liverpool held 0-0 by Porto, into Champions League quarters Liverpool relied on its five goals from the first leg to oust Porto in the last 16 of the Champions League as the teams played out a dull 0-0 draw in the return match on Tuesday. Protecting a 5-0 lead, Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp had the luxury of resting the joint-top scorer in the Premier League — Mo Salah — and world's most expensive defender — Virgil van Dijk — for the second leg at Anfield.

Andrés Iniesta looking at the camera© Provided by Ernesto Valverde is yet to decide whether Andres Iniesta can be risked in Wednesday's Champions League tie against Chelsea, with the Barcelona captain struggling to recover from a hamstring injury.

Iniesta was forced off during Barca's 1-0 La Liga defeat of title rivals Atletico Madrid on March 4 and has not played since, missing the weekend win over Malaga.

The midfielder has returned to training but Valverde will assess his performance in Tuesday's session before making a final decision on his availability.

"He's done well in training but we can't say whether or not he will play yet," Valverde told reporters.

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"It's a huge game but you need to be 100 per cent fit to play. It depends whether he trains today.

"Tomorrow is a must-win situation so you need to take risks, as long as they are not too excessive.

"But you also do not want to compromise the safety of the player."

With Iniesta absent and Lionel Messi unavailable due to the birth of his third son, Ousmane Dembele excelled in Barca's defeat of Malaga on Saturday and the France international is a contender to start against Chelsea.

"It was against 10 men but he did perform very well and he offers something very different to the team," said Valverde, who confirmed Sergi Roberto should be fit to play despite missing training.

Chelsea's defensive tactics restricted Barca to minimal chances in the first leg, but a mistake from Andreas Christensen led to Iniesta setting up Messi for a crucial away goal in a 1-1 draw.

Valverde rejects speculation Neymar could return to Barcelona

  Valverde rejects speculation Neymar could return to Barcelona Reports have linked the Brazilian with a sensational return to Camp Nou after a single season at PSG, but the Blaugrana coach dismissed speculationThe Brazilian has lit up Ligue 1 since leaving Barca for Paris Saint-Germain in August, becoming the world's most expensive player following the €222million deal.

And Valverde expects Antonio Conte's men to line up in a similar shape when they visit Camp Nou, where they are unbeaten in their last four visits.

"In the first leg we saw Chelsea's virtues," Valverde said. "We don't know if they will attack or defend, it depends what the score is.

"The initial result is good for us but we have to play our game and be ourselves. Chelsea are a team that can score at any time.

"They can take different approaches, they showed that in London. But when they push back and defend strong they are hard to break through. Maybe the secret is to keep pressing, but they are also very strong on the counter-attack.

"Tomorrow we have to be wary of the threats of Chelsea, they are a threat from set-pieces and on the counter-attack and we have to be careful about that."

More: Coutinho adds to list of Barca players backing Neymar's return | Messi applauded upon return to Barca training after birth of son | Reus: Every player has their ups and downs - except Messi and Ronaldo

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