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Ernesto Valverde talks Philippe Coutinho, Pep Guardiola and Liverpool ahead of Real Sociedad clash

The latest from the Barcelona boss

SD Huesca v FC Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Ernesto Valverde has faced the press ahead of Saturday’s La Liga clash with Real Sociedad at the Camp Nou.

The Barcelona boss talked about Champions League opponents Liverpool, Pep Guardiola, Philippe Coutinho and Real Sociedad.

Here are the best bits:

Valverde on Liverpool

They’re a really difficult rival with a really powerful attack that is showing what it’s about. Last season they were in the final, this year they are doing well again and they’re fighting for the Premier League, too. So, it’s a really tough tie for us but it’s an attractive one for everyone.

Valverde on Pep Guardiola

For me, the best manager in the world is Pep Guardiola, regardless of the fact he was eliminated from the Champions League.

Valverde on Umtiti

He is a player who is with us and we want him to be as good as possible, neither you nor I are doctors and we’ll see how he is. We think he’s OK.

Valverde on Coutinho

In regard to criticism, we are in the world of football and subject to continuous criticism. Coutinho is the same as everyone. I have not talked with him. He made a gesture. What surprises me is that they talk more about the gesture than the goal.

I did not find anything special and I did not think it was disrespectful to anyone. We give a lot of hype to anecdotal things. Coutinho has had a year in which he has suffered criticism, but the important thing is that he played a match that I am happy with.

Valverde on Sociedad

Right now, what drives us is our need to win. There are nine points on the table this week, which is just what we need to clinch the league championship. Real Sociedad are a tough side with a lot of offensive power. What is pushing us at the moment is the need to win the game. Winning tomorrow would mean a lot.

Valverde on Lionel Messi close to his 600th goal

We are running out of words to describe Leo. We always expect something special of him and he always performs.

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