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"Stratospheric" Messi scores 400th La Liga goal in Barca win

14 January 2019

Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho has found life a bit hard at the Nou Camp this season amidst a run of poor form which has seen him lose his place in Ernesto Valverde's starting lineup but it would be a huge mistake to write him off yet because the attacker still has a lot to offer. "It was a tough match the other day in which we lost, sure, but has to help us take a step forward".

It was also Messi's league-leading 17th league goal and his 23rd goal overall this season.

Suarez had given Barca the lead in the 19th minute by completing a superb team move involving Messi and his former Liverpool team mate Philippe Coutinho, who returned to the starting line up for the first time in four league games.

He said: "Personally, I see it hard for him to return, but in football I've seen a hundred thousand things".

Erick Cabaco opened scoring for the hosts as early as the fourth minute of the encounter with Ruben Rochina claiming the assist for the goal.

The Argentinian's first shot produced the goal. Coutinho to Suarez to Messi.

That being said, let Coutinho leave would be a massive mistake.

Not including staying at Barcelona, United are clear favourites to acquire his services ahead the likes of Tottenham, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Napoli.

He scored 10 goals in 22 games back then, but his influence on the team has started to wane following the resurgence from Ousmane Dembele and form of midfielders Ivan Rakitic and Arthur.

Elsewhere, Inaki Williams struck in either half as improving Athletic Bilbao beat third-placed Sevilla 2-0 at San Mames.

However, he has found life more hard in his second season and has started only one of Barca's last five fixtures: the 1-1 draw at home to Tottenham in December when coach Ernesto Valverde picked a weakened XI with first place in the group already secured. They will meet again on Wednesday in Seville in the return leg of their round-of-16 game.