Barcelona may be winless in three matches, with two draws, but that isn’t going to lead Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino down the road to peaceful, restful sleep ahead of their Champions League clash.
[ UCL WRAP: Man City wins, Real loses ]
Messi is also causing Pochettino another kind of trouble, the same pain felt by most of us writers when describing the exploits and greatness of one Lionel Andres Messi Cuccittini.
“It’s difficult to praise him more,” Pochettino said. “You try to find the words that describe him. He’s one of the greatest players ever in football and for me, it’s a great opportunity for everyone to enjoy playing against him. It’s a game to enjoy, of course a game to try to win and to have the opportunity to play against Messi doesn’t happen often.”
Spurs will likely to have to cope with even more absences, with Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen, and Mousa Dembele missing training to join Dele Alli and Serge Aurier in the crowd. And it’s unclear whether Hugo Lloris is healthy enough to take the reins back from Paulo Gazzaniga.
Tottenham lost at Inter Milan in its opener, could really use a home result against Ernesto Valverde’s Barca.
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The other Premier League side in action is Liverpool, who won their UCL debut by holding on to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 at Anfield.
The task is at least equal but possibly more difficult on Wednesday, when Jurgen Klopp‘s Reds hit the road to face Napoli.
The hosts are quite wary of the threat provided by Klopp’s men.
“Liverpool don’t just have one good player – they’ve got several, especially when it comes to playing on the break,” said Ancelotti. “We want to attack and win but we need to be wary of that side of Liverpool. Klopp is a friend. He’s a very experienced coach and his teams have a very clear identity: pace, aggression and intensity. … Liverpool will play with very high intensity so we’ll need to be ready for that.
“It’s important that we show bravery and personality, implement what we’ve worked on and be ready to withstand their counter-attacks. If we play the way we know how, we can cause Liverpool problems.”
Elsewhere, American youngsters Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund) and Weston McKennie (Schalke) could feature, while USMNT and Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath isn’t expected to start when Club Brugge visits Atletico Madrid.
Full Weds. slate
Paris Saint-Germain vs. Red Star Belgrade — 12:55 p.m. ET
Lokomotiv Moscow vs. Schalke — 12:55 p.m. ET
Spurs vs. Barcelona — 3 p.m. ET
Borussia Dortmund vs. Monaco — 3 p.m. ET
Napoli vs. Liverpool — 3 p.m. ET
Atletico Madrid vs. Club Brugge — 3 p.m. ET
Porto vs. Galatasaray — 3 p.m. ET
PSV Eindhoven vs. Inter Milan — 3 p.m. ET