Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is sweating over the fitness of a number of key players only nine days before their crucial Champions League clash with Manchester City. Lionel Messi, Samuel Umtiti, Ivan Rakitic, Jordi Alba, Sergi Roberto and second keeper Jasper Cillessen are currently on the treatment table and it is still uncertain whether they will be back available for the La Liga encounter with Deportivo la Coruna on Saturday 15 October.
Luis Enrique has introduced a new rotation policy in the opening games of the new campaign in order to have all his players fresh for the key games of the season. Yet, last year Barcelona failed to capture the Champions League after the likes of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Sergio Busquets arrived at the last part of the campaign exhausted.
The manager was ready to continue the same plan for the Saturday game with Deportivo in order to have his best 11 fresh for the Champions League encounter with City on 19 October. The clash with Pep Guardiola's side is expected to be decisive to secure the top spot in Group C, with the Catalans currently leading the table two points ahead of the Premier League side.
But Luis Enrique's plans may be disrupted by the current injury crisisat the Nou Camp. Alba, Sergi Roberto and Cillesen have joined Messi, Umtiti and Rakitic on the treatment table while on international duty and are doubtful for Deportivo.
The absence of Cillessen shouldn't be a major concern for Barcelona, as Marc Andre Ter Stegen will be the number one against both Deportivo and City anyway. However the other five players are key for Luis Enrique and are tipped to be in the starting line-up against City if they are fit.
Alba is expected to miss the Saturday game but could be ready to return to action against City. Barcelona ruled him out for 10 days after he suffered a muscle issue during Spain's 1-1 draw with Italy on Thursday 6 October.
Sergi Roberto's situation is similar. Barcelona have not given an official update on his injury but reports in his homeland are claiming that he is definitely out to face Deportivo, having already missed the Spanish 2-0 victory over Albania due to a muscle issue.
There is more optimism over Messi and Umtiti though. The Argentinian and the French centre-back have missed the last three and four games respectively. However, both reportedly started light training last week and reports in Spain are claiming that Luis Enrique want to give them some minutes against Deportivo in order to have them fully fit to face City.
Rakitic could also be available to play against City after he withdrew from the Croatia squad with an Achilles tendon injury. On 3 October the national team ruled him out for around 10 days before Barcelona added "his availability for the training sessions will depend on how the recovery process progresses".
Meanwhile, Barcelona have revealed that Neymar will return to the training sessions on Tuesday following his international duties with Brazil, while Spanish trio Gerard Pique, Andres Iniesta and Sergio Busquets will be back on Wednesday.