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Three things that will decide Barcelona v LA Galaxy

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Barcelona head to America and the International Champions Cup for the first three games of their pre-season.

Old foes Manchester United and Chelsea lie in wait but first up it's LA Galaxy.

The Stubhub centre is already sold out for the match despite the fact that Lionel Messi and Neymar will both be missing from the starting line up owing to their participations in the Copa America.

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Being Barca's first game we can expect that there will be some ring-rustiness but the calibre of opponent, with the greatest of respect, shouldn't trouble the Blaugrana.

Let's take a look at three things that could affect the outcome of this game...

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Steven Gerrard

If there was any doubt as to how seriously Steven Gerrard would take his American adventure, all of the questions were answered in the space of 90 minutes against San Jose Earthquakes.

It was like watching the Gerrard of Liverpool vintage, bossing the midfield, stroking the ball around like he owned the joint.

A goal to cap his debut was a deserved reward for how hard Gerrard had worked throughout.

If his debut performance is anything to go by then he will quickly become the focal point of the side and adopting the analogy “form is temporary, class is permanent,” you feel Gerrard could go on for a few more years yet in an defensive anchor position.

Spraying the ball to feet from 50 yards has never really been a problem, so Barca need to be on their guard as Galaxy's finest finds his feet, and his teammates.

Fitness levels

We are told time and time again that there is nothing quite like full match fitness from a professional player's point of view.

You can do all of the training in the world but if you lack that match sharpness, that extra five or 10 percent, it makes all of the difference.

Galaxy are slap bang in the middle of their MLS season and as such are much further on in fitness terms than Barcelona.

It could make all of the difference when it comes to the games' last knockings.

What is strange is that the powers that be in MLS have allowed these games to take place at all.

Quite obviously the Galaxy are going to want to use their marquee signings but what happens if they should get injured? In a meaningless friendly when compared to the bread and butter of their league games.

It's a delicate balancing act by the league, and one which could have repurcussions.

Winning mentality

If there is one thing that has characterised Luis Enrique's Barcelona, it is a winning mentality.

Out of 62 games played in 2014/15, the Catalans won 52, the most ever wins in a single season by the club.

Lucho's natural competitive spirit won't allow him to take his foot off of the gas, and he'll have high expectations of a team that will still include the likes of Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Andres Iniesta, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique.

In short, apart from Messi and Neymar, Barca take a full strength squad to the East Coast and who's to say that with the managers previous record for rotations, that he won't introduce a “playing for your place” directive.

After all, he did it last season and both Gerard Deulofeu and Gerard Pique fell foul of him early on. The former was shipped off to Seville whilst the latter was uncermoniously dumped on the bench for a period.

Such tactics are likely to work again if he wants the squad firing on all cylinders from the get-go.

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Topics:
Luis Suarez
Steven Gerrard
MLS
LA Galaxy
La Liga
Barcelona
Football

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