6 min: So close from Carrasco! Atletico almost take the lead. Carrasco’s wicked inswinging free-kick from the left beats everyone and bounces this far wide of the far post. Both Jimenez and Diego Costa almost got something on it six yards from goal; had they done so they would surely have scored.
5 min It looks like Barcelona are playing with a diamond midfield, though Rakitic has started much deeper on the left than Vidal on the right. Riqui Puig is playing behind Messi and Suarez.
3 min Lodi’s excellent deep cross from the left is poked behind by Alba, just in front of Llorente. The referee gives a goalkick. It was great defending from Alba, who had to stretch round Llorente to get to the ball.
3 min “Well done the Guardian photo editor!” says Charles Antaki, punching the air with a manic look in his eye. “Finally an appropriate use is found for the square-chunk Barça kit: nostalgia-inducement for lovers of Sprinter-train seat fabrics, 1985-1995. When new. The spilt coffee, bum-wear and general decrepitude tended to fade them pretty quickly.”
That timeline is a bit generous. I’m sure I sat on one last year.
2 min After a good break from the youngster Riqui Puig, Suarez shoots straight at Oblak from 20 yards.
1 min Peep peep! Atletico, in red and white stripes, kick off from right to left. Barcelona are in red and blue.
The players emerge on a warm evening at the Nou Camp: 25 degrees, 83 per cent humidity, pressure 1013 mb.
Barcelona (possible 4-3-3) ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Jordi Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Puig; Messi, Suarez, Vidal.
Substitutes: Neto, Pena, Arthur, Braithwaite, Sergi Roberto, Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Griezmann, Collado, Ansu Fati, Araujo, Monchu.
Atletico Madrid (possible 4-4-2) Oblak; Arias, Felipe, Gimenez, Renan Lodi; Carrasco, Saul, Thomas, Correa; Llorente, Diego Costa.
Substitutes: Adan, Joao Felix, Lemar, Morata, Herrera, Saponjic, Vitolo, Hermoso, Trippier, Garcia, Sanchez, Sendra.
Feels like end times, doesn’t it? Not just for civilised society, but also Barcelona Football Club. If they don’t liven up quicksmart, they will finish a season without a trophy for the first time since the dark days of 2007-08. Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez are 33, Sergio Busquets turns 32 next month, Quique Setien is a walking P45 and there has been enough infighting to make Albert Square seem like idyll itself.
They could still finish the season as champions of Spain and Europe, so it’s not the end of the world just yet, but they have an uncomfortably good view from the precipice. That view will get even better if they fail to beat an Atletico Madrid side who have been in superb form since lockdown.
Barcelona’s geriatricos are two points behind the leaders Real Madrid, who play Getafe on Thursday, with six games remaining. Their home form has been almost faultless this season, with 15 wins out of 16 in the league. But home advantage ain’t what it used to be, and this match is fraught with peril for Barcelona. If this great team are going to enjoy one last dance, a defiant victory tonight – and maybe a 700th career goal for Messi – would be a good place to start.
Kick off 9pm BST, 10pm CEST.