Ernesto Valverde insists Barcelona’s only focus is on claiming the LaLiga title on Saturday, rather than the upcoming Champions League clash with Liverpool.
Barca can claim the first trophy of a potential treble against lowly Levante, as they hold a nine-point cushion over nearest rivals Atletico Madrid with just four games remaining.
Premier League title contenders Liverpool visit Camp Nou on Wednesday in the first leg of their semi-final tie and while conceding he may rotate some players ahead of that European fixture, Valverde is determined to get across the line in the league as quickly as possible.
“It’s always there in your mind, we’ve been watching Liverpool games as the weeks go by,” Valverde told a news conference.
“But we have to focus on Saturday’s game. We’ve had a lot of league games in the last weeks and I want this to be our final bid for the title. There’s still time to think about Liverpool.
“I have got a clear idea of my team but maybe I’ll change my mind, we’ll see. Clearly, I might make some changes but there’s four days until the game with Liverpool.
“I know that winning, which would guarantee a title, is something that would boost our morale for Wednesday’s game far above the tiredness we might have. The game against Levante ties in with the game on Wednesday, we want to go into that game as strong as we can.
“Liverpool are playing for the Premier League title, they have an extra day to prepare. The semi-final is two games that are going to bring out the best in us and them.
“We want to win the title in front of our fans and that is the focus.”
Ernesto Valverde: “Tomorrow we want to be champions. It’s the game we have been waiting for all season. It’s special to be able to celebrate the title with the fans” #BarçaLevante pic.twitter.com/VC8A0Da7Zt
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 26, 2019
Levante sit 15th, with a 4-0 victory over Real Betis lifting them three points clear of the relegation zone, and Valverde is expecting a resilient opposition.
“Atletico Madrid are testing us right until the end so if we are to win the title we want to get it wrapped up as soon as possible,” Valverde added.
“We’re thinking about Levante being a difficult opponent. They are a team fighting relegation and teams in that position tend to get a lot of points, they played very well against Real Betis the other day, so we expect a tough game because of what they are playing for, but we’re playing for the championship.
“At the start of the season your aim is to be playing for the title in front of your fans. There are still four games but we can’t let anything slip. Atleti are a very strong competitor, we just want to make sure we win our game.”