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In Pictures: Messi leads Barca win against Levante

Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez both came close before the Uruguayan forward battered home the second in the 38th minute.

In Pictures: Messi leads Barca win against Levante

Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez both came close before the Uruguayan forward battered home the second in the 38th minute.

07 January 2018 Sunday 21:01
In Pictures: Messi leads Barca win against Levante

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez hit first-half goals to help Barcelona see off Levante and maintain their nine point lead at the top of La Liga.

It only took 12 minutes for them to open the scoring against the weakened visitors, with Jordi Alba heading the ball down for Messi to volley home in off the post.

That destroyed Levante’s defensive game-plan and made the rest of the match a formality.

Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez both came close before the Uruguayan forward battered home the second in the 38th minute, a searing strike from Sergi Roberto’s volleyed cross.

Paulinho added the gloss to the scoreline late on, converting from close range after Messi's fine dribble and cross.

Lionel Messi celebrates his goal

Jordi Alba congratulates Messi

Luis Suarez gets in on the act

Dembele in the house

The French winger made his return from injury on Thursday against Celta Vigo but this was the first time he has played at Camp Nou since his hamstring tear in September.

Ousmane Dembele showed his quality at the Camp Nou

The Uruguayan fires in the second

Valverde tactical shift

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde changed to a 4-4-2 after Dembele was injured in September and it has proven perfect for his team, unbeaten in La Liga and the Champions League.

Messi evades Emmanuel Boateng's challenge

Coutinho kept covered

Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde changed to a 4-4-2 after Dembele was injured in September and it has proven perfect for his team, unbeaten in La Liga and the Champions League.

In the second half Valverde maintained it but put Dembele on the left, Iniesta in the middle and Messi on the right.

Awesome Alba

The biggest beneficiary of Neymar’s departure to PSG in the summer has been Jordi Alba. The left back is enjoying arguably his finest season in a Barcelona shirt and has created a special connection with Lionel Messi.

With his header into Messi’s path here, which the Argentine volleyed home for the opening goal, Alba racked up his fifth La Liga asset for his team-mate this season.

Paulinho races past Sergio Postigo

Rest does Suarez the world of good

Luis Suarez’s start to the season was horrendous, with three goals in 14 matches. The Uruguayan forward was carrying a knee problem and his country agreed not to fly him to South America to play in some friendlies during the international break in November.

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