Lionel Messi marked his 400th look in La Liga with the opening purpose as Barcelona eased to a Three-Zero win over struggling Levante on the Camp Nou on Sunday.
Messi’s 365th purpose in Spain’s prime flight got here inside 12 minutes, with Luis Suarez including the second earlier than the interval and Paulinho finishing the victory late on as Barcelona stretched their lead on the prime of the desk again to 9 factors over Atletico Madrid.
The Catalans are nonetheless unbeaten in La Liga this season and have Philippe Coutinho to return in, with the Brazilian anticipated to be formally unveiled as a Barcelona participant on Monday following the announcement of his 160 million-euro ($192 million) transfer from Liverpool.
With all of the speak forward of this sport on Coutinho, coach Ernesto Valverde was anticipating his aspect to maintain their give attention to profitable their first league outing since beating Real Madrid Three-Zero within the Clasico on December 23.
“Levante had not lost away since September. We were very good in the first half, but the rhythm was not the same in the second half,” stated Valverde.
Coutinho, whose switch is the third-biggest in soccer historical past, was not in attendance on the Camp Nou because the membership’s earlier document recruit Ousmane Dembele began.
The Frenchman, signed for 105 million euros from Borussia Dortmund at first of the marketing campaign, was included within the line-up right here for the primary time since tearing his hamstring almost 4 months in the past.
He got here near scoring on a few events, together with from one 20-yard strike that was overwhelmed away by Levante goalkeeper Oier Olazabal.
“I think he has to bring something to the team, and he also has to face up to the competition for places and for the tackles he will face on the pitch, from opponents who don’t want to let him past,” stated Valverde, who took Dembele off halfway via the second half.
“It is a process, but I thought he looked good and we still hope he can improve.”
It was Messi who broke the impasse from a Jordi Alba help, a mixture that has proved fruitful on so many events this season.