Without Leo Messi in the pitch, Ernesto Valverde needs to find another leader. Coutinho, Luis Suárez or Ousmane Dembélé are in front of a great challenge
After the confirmation of Leo Messi's three weeks of injury period, it comes to Ernesto Valverde a great challenge to show that Barça have other leaders and a range of different tactics.
During last matches, Barça played a 4-3-3 with Busquets, Rakitic and Arthur as midfielders and Coutinho, Suárez and Messi as forwards. After his injury against Sevilla, Ousmane Dembélé replaced the Argentinian and the 4-3-3 kept fixed. However, in the next matches against Inter Milan and Real Madrid, Ernesto Valverde could introduce changes in order to keep ball possession.
So, Barça could come back to last season 4-4-2, with Coutinho and Suárez as forwards and Sergi Roberto would join Busi, Rakitic and Arthur as a midfielder. Also, Arturo Vidal could has his change next to Sergio Busquets.
The other option, as Valverde showed against Sevilla, is to keep the 4-3-3 and introduce Dembélé as right forward. This would be the more natural option. However, against Real Madrid, Valverde could prioritise the ball possession and the control against the anarchist way of playing of Dembélé.
Lastly, and how we saw against Inter Milan. What it seems to be the best option is Rafinha playing as a fourth midfielder and helping the forwards. The Brazilian performed greatly against Inter and he would probably have more chances in the next matches.
In conclusion, Barça need that other players assume Messi's role of a leader. It could be Coutinho, Suárez or Dembélé challenge to show their quality.