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Champions League: Lamela back for Spurs, Suarez rested for Barcelona

However, the biggest question remains: What about Messi?

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Tomorrow’s Champions League match is a big one. Tottenham Hotspur are at Camp Nou for a match against Barcelona, and Spurs know that they need to get a win or better Inter Milan’s match against PSV in order to escape in second place out of Group B.

There’s good news for Spurs — Tottenham released team news via Twitter and confirmed that Erik Lamela is back from injury with freshly sharpened elbows and is available for selection.

The bad news, however, is that both Serge Aurier and Kieran Trippier did not make the trip to Spain, so third string fullback Kyle Walker-Peters, who today signed a new contract with the club, will play in their place. Mousa Dembele, Victor Wanyama, and Davinson Sanchez remain on the injury list.

In his press conference at Camp Nou, Mauricio Pochettino confirmed KWP’s place in the starting lineup and said that he has the full faith of the coaching staff, despite the daunting matchup.

“Kyle Walker-Peters will have the option to play. I remind you that he won the U20 World Cup only a year ago. Playing at a place like this will make him strong and we have no doubts in him playing tomorrow.

“So happy to have three players in this position with different qualities. I think Kyle has the qualities to play. He needs to feel free. He’s a very relaxed player and person. Whatever happens tomorrow we hope he will be a massive success for this club.”

The other big question surrounding tomorrow’s match is what Barcelona will do with their lineup. The La Liga giants have already qualified for the next round and are coming off of a big rivalry match against Espanyol, Pochettino’s old club. There’s the possibility that, with nothing really to play for, Barca might opt to rest some of their best players like, y’know, Lionel Messi.

Here’s how Barca lined up for their rivalry match against Espanyol:

Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé

The implication is that a few of these players won’t be in the side against Spurs. In his pre-match press conference, Ernesto Valverde confirmed that there’d be some rotation, but wasn’t specific as to what that would look like.

Earlier today, it was announced that Luis Suarez would not play on Tuesday over ongoing concerns about a recent knee injury, and there were rumors that keeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen would make way for Jasper Cillessen.

The biggest question is obviously “will Messi play” and there’s no good answer to that. Barca have another match this coming weekend against Levante, so it would make sense to sit him, at least initially, but that’s not confirmation and we probably won’t know until the lineups are announced tomorrow an hour before kick-off. Either way, Spurs will need to put together a very strong match against one of the best teams in the world, or their Champions League adventure will be over.