Ronald Koeman made a couple of key changes to his Barcelona team to face Alaves at Camp Nou in La Liga this Saturday evening. Teenager Ilaix Moriba and Riqui Puig both came into the starting lineup, the former making his first league start.
Lionel Messi joined them to make his 505th La Liga appearance for the club and draw level with Xavi as their all-time record appearance holder in La Liga, a remarkable achievement he’ll break the next time he suits up for the Blaugrana.
The Dutchman undoubtedly has an eye on Tuesday’s clash in the last 16 of the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain with his selection, but Barcelona would be fools to look beyond Alaves this evening. They need to win to reclaim third spot having been leapfrogged by Sevilla earlier in the day, and currently sit eleven points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid.
Likewise, Alaves will be hoping to secure the points to pull themselves away from the relegation zone. Remarkably given the congested nature of the table this season, one victory could see them go from 16th, where they are now, to as high as eleventh depending on the number of goals they score.