La Liga: Barcelona v Granada
Luis Enrique's side managed to retain their unbeaten start to life under their new coach with Wednesday's 0-0 draw at Malaga, while they also recorded a fifth successive La Liga clean sheet.
However, Barca came in for significant criticism as they struggled to break down a resilient Malaga side and created few clear-cut scoring opportunities.
Messi's influence on proceedings was muted and Luis Enrique was left bemoaning his team's inability to involve the Argentina star, acknowledging that playing to the 27-year-old's strengths is absolutely essential.
"The fact that Messi didn't participate so much is a credit to Malaga," he told reporters.
"It's clear that the more he participates, the more dangerous we are. For us, finding Messi is key – and if we find him we will be more dangerous.
"That was what we found most difficult and it's clearly credit to our rival."
After the draw and Valencia's win on Thursday, Barca slipped to second in the table but level with the leaders on 13 points.
Although Barcelona were unable to beat Malaga, many have noted the importance of picking up a fifth consecutive clean sheet, with the Catalan giants failing to manage such a feat in their opening matches since the 1977-78 season.
Barcelona's opponents on Saturday have started the season in encouraging fashion after collecting eight points from their opening five matches.
However, a 1-0 home defeat for Granada against out-of-form Levante on Wednesday provided something of a reality check for Joaquin Caparros' men.
The two sides have met six times in La Liga since Granada's promotion from the La Segunda in the 2010-11 season, with the Andalusian club's only victory coming in a 1-0 home win last season.
The other five meetings have ended in triumph for Barcelona, with Granada shipping 11 goals in their last three visits to Camp Nou.
A recurring theme in Luis Enrique's spell as coach so far has been his insistence on rotating the squad, particularly in defence, with Gerard Pique finding himself on the bench surprisingly frequently.
And the Spaniard looks set to have even more competition for a place ahead of Saturday, with Thomas Vermaelen finally set to make his debut after injuring his hamstring following his close-season arrival from Arsenal.
Luis Enrique has the added boost that he has few other fitness concerns to take into consideration, with third-choice goalkeeper Jordi Masip (broken finger) and Luis Suarez (suspended) the only players definitely missing.
Caparros has the majority of his squad available for selection as well, with Daniel Larsson (ankle) the only absolute absentee, while Ruben Rochina is a doubt after picking up a knock in training on Tuesday.