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FC Barcelona News: 30 April 2019; Bjorn Kuipers Named 1st Leg Referee, Copa and Supercopa Changes Approved

Utrecht v Groningen - Eredivisie Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

Spanish FA approves Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup changes | Sky Sports
The Copa del Rey switches to a single-match format, with the exception of the semi-finals, which remain a two-leg tie. Teams involved in the Spanish Super Cup - Barcelona, Valencia, Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid - will not have to participate in the first two rounds of the Copa. The final is on April 18, 2020.

Kuipers to referee Barcelona’s first leg against Liverpool | Marca
Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers has been appointed to take charge of Barcelona’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Liverpool at the Camp Nou on Wednesday night. Neither Barcelona nor Liverpool have suffered defeat with Kuipers as referee, though the Blaugrana’s 0-0 draw with Juventus in the Champions League quarter-finals in 2017 saw the Catalans eliminated after their 3-0 first-leg defeat.

Barcelona’s big doubt: Coutinho or Dembele against Liverpool? | Sport
Ernesto Valverde can’t complain. Barcelona are arriving at the crucial stage of the season with all their players available with the exception of the injured Rafinha. There are no banned players, either, as they prepare to face Liverpool on Wednesday. There’s a lot to choose from and there’s only one big doubt: Philippe Coutinho or Ousmane Dembele?

Barcelona to copy Guardiola’s City against Liverpool in Champions League - sources | ESPN
Sources have told ESPN FC that Ernesto Valverde and his staff are confident going into the semifinal first leg this week, but they are aware the tie against Liverpool is Barca’s toughest test in recent years. Valverde has spent hours going over 24 carefully selected Liverpool games from this campaign, but it is their two matches against Guardiola’s City side which he has been paying particular attention to.

Luis Suarez and Coutinho: Liverpool’s familiar rivals | Marca
On Wednesday at Camp Nou, Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho are set to take on the club at which they made their names. As they look to gain a place in the final of the Champions League with Barcelona, their former side Liverpool stand in their path.

Barcelona and Alisson meet again in the Champions League | Marca
Standing in the way of Barcelona and the Champions League final is a familiar foe from last season’s quarter-final collapse against AS Roma. The goalkeeper in that unforgettable tie, which saw Barcelona squander a 4-1 advantage from the first leg and suffer elimination at the hands of the Serie A club, was none other than Liverpool’s Alisson.

Barcelona ready to colour Europe | Marca
Barcelona and the Camp Nou are prepared to welcome Liverpool in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final on Wednesday night. The club have unveiled the enormous mosaic that will greet the players as they come onto the pitch, with over 90,000 cards to be distributed around the stadium.

De Jong: I don’t expect to be a starter at Barcelona | Marca
Frenkie de Jong is aware that signing for Barcelona from Ajax this summer won’t make him an automatic starter at the Camp Nou, despite his hefty transfer fee and impressive performances for the Dutch side this season.

The life of Barcelona’s backup goalkeeper | Marca
Being a second-choice goalkeeper at Barcelona isn’t easy. Even though Pep Guardiola started the trend of rotating goalkeepers depending on the competition, those who don’t feature the most inevitably end up wanting more minutes. The last to happily fill the role was Jose Manuel Pinto, who spent six and a half years as substitute goalkeeper without any complaints.

‘Japanese Messi’ Kubo ready for European return after premature Barcelona exit | Goal
Goal understands that Barca made a promise to Kubo that they would continue to follow his progress given he was the most talented of those who were forced to leave La Masia four years ago, and they are not about to renege on that vow. An offer is set to be made with the proviso that he would likely start out life within the Barcelona ‘B’ side or even out on loan elsewhere in Spain or further afield in Europe.

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