Lionel Messi leads Barcelona's 18-man squad for the upcoming trip to Eibar as Ernesto Valverde's side attempt to get back to winning ways in the Basque Country three days before travelling to London to face Chelsea in the first leg of the Champions League last 16.

Barcelona began the month of February with an 11-point cushion over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga but have seen that advantage reduce to just seven following two consecutive draws against Espanyol and Getafe.

The game against Eibar has therefore become especially important to the Catalans and Valverde has made it clear that Tuesday's (20 February) trip to Chelsea will not be a distraction for his squad.

"We are only thinking about the game in Ipurua. We know that it is an important match but following the draw against Getafe, the trip to Eibar is even more important," Valverde said in his press conference ahead of the game.

"When you think you have a margin for error, that's the first step on the road to making a mistake.

"Eibar are a team who put you under a great deal of pressure high up the field and they are one of the teams in the top-flight who try to play the game in your half. They want you to play like they do, they start games well and we will have to adapt to the situation, the size of the pitch and their style above all."

The Barcelona boss has named a strong squad to travel to Eibar, with Samuel Umtiti returning after missing last weekend's draw against Getafe due to suspension.

Gerard Pique was an unused substitute for that match due to an ongoing knee problem, but the centre-back has also made the cut alongside the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and captain Andres Iniesta.

However, the club have confirmed that the trip to Eibar will come too early for Thomas Vermaelen, with the Belgium international having been out of action since suffering a hamstring injury during the 5-0 win over Real Betis on 21 January.

However, the defender returned to training on Thursday and could still be back to face Chelsea on Tuesday. In that case, Valverde could have a fully-fit squad to chose from barring any last-minute injuries.

Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez and Paco Alcacer have also been left out of the trip to Eibar, but only due to technical reasons.

Valverde has had the whole week to prepare for Eibar with Barcelona having not played a midweek game for the first time in 2018.

The Barcelona boss was delighted with that much-needed rest but admitted that he would have liked to play the game a day earlier in order to have the same time as Chelsea - who face Hull City in the FA Cup fifth round on Friday - to prepare for the first leg of their Champions League tie.

"More than physically, it [the rest] has been good mentally. It's been good for the squad to rest mentally after quite a few weeks with cup ties and the league every three days," Valverde added.