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Five talking points from Levante 5-4 Barcelona

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Levante v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Comical defending from Tom and Yerry

Ernesto Valverde opted to pair Thomas Vermaelen and Yerry Mina together in the heart of the defence for the first time in La Liga and the duo put in a comically bad display.

Mina has barely featured since arriving in January and plenty of supporters have wondered why and been calling for him to play.

They got their wish on Sunday and quickly saw why he’s been left out. Barcelona’s defence was a shambles and Levante looked like they’d score every time they attacked.

Vermaelen also had a complete stinker and no-one was disappointed when injury forced him off early.

There’s been talk of Mina leaving on loan this summer, but on this evidence it could even be a permanent deal as he looks a long way short of the standard required.

Let’s get excited about Coutinho

Levante v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

This was a pretty crazy game that we’d all like to forget about, but one player who did provide some comfort was Philippe Coutinho.

The Brazilian has been a growing influence at Barcelona and with Lionel Messi missing was the inspiration for the team with his first hat-trick for his new club.

Yes he got a little bit lucky with a couple of his goals, but he looked quality whenever he was on the ball and almost dragged his team to a point.

Why leave out Messi now?

FC Barcelona v Sporting CP - UEFA Champions League Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

When Barcelona announced their squad for the game there was a glaring omission with Lionel Messi’s name not even in the travelling party.

A rest would have been understandable but surely he could at least have been on the bench?

It’s still not clear why Messi was left out entirely but there are rumors that their friendly against Mamelodi Sundowns in Johannesburg on Wednesday played a part.

Apparently Messi is contractually obliged to play in that game and if he was left out because of that then something, somewhere has gone really badly wrong.

No Invincible season for Barcelona

Levante v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Barcelona have finally been beaten in La Liga, the unbeaten run is over, and it’s pretty sad, especially when the club were just two games away from an historic unbeaten season.

It was a remarkable game too with Barcelona all over the place at the back and yet somehow dragging themselves back into in and almost managing to avoid defeat again.

The team did manage to win the league without losing a single game, completed the double with a brilliant final win over Copa del Rey and picked up two trophies nobody envisaged after Neymar left and Barca were thrashed in the Super Cup.

Yet rightly or wrongly there’s a nagging fear that this season will be remembered more for the defeats at Roma and Levante than for the two trophies won.

Suarez shows why Griezmann is wanted

Levante v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Luis Suarez scored his 25th La Liga goal of the season against Levante to make it 5-4, and he should also have equalised when Denis Suarez crossed and he headed wide from close range.

It was a bad miss and summed up his night as the Uruguayan was one of Barcelona’s poorest performers, although let’s face it there were plenty of contenders.

With Messi absent Barca needed Suarez to lead the attack but every time he got the ball the team’s attacks simply fizzled out.

It was all a massive contrast to the vibrant attacking performance against Villarreal in midweek when Suarez was left on the bench as Dembele, Messi and Coutinho all shone.

Meanwhile, the rumours surrounding a move for Antoine Griezmann are growing ever louder. There’s plenty of talk about where he might play if he does arrive and it’s looking increasingly likely Suarez could be the man to make way.