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Three things we learned from Barcelona’s win over Levante in the Copa del Rey

Lionel Messi and Ousmane Dembele were on target

FC Barcelona v Levante - Copa del Rey Round of 16 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Valverde is serious about the Copa del Rey

Much has already been made of the importance of the Copa del Rey and whether taking the competition seriously can have a negative impact on teams’ Champions League exploits.

Ernesto Valverde made it pretty obvious what he thinks of the tournament by naming a very strong team for the second leg at the Camp Nou.

In came Lionel Messi, Ivan Rakitic, Jordi Alba, Arthur, Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho. Unlike the previous games in the competition there was not a single B team player in sight.

His team selection was understandable given Barcelona went into the game 2-1 down, but it’s another opportunity missed to give youth and fringe players some game time.

Valverde wasn’t even taking any risks with his substitutes. On came Luis Suarez, then Sergi Roberto and finally Denis Suarez, once again Carles Alena did not get off the bench.

Barcelona will play another five matches if they are to retain their title, and you can expect a strong team in those games with Valverde keen for Barca to lift the trophy for a fifth year in a row.

Barcelona don’t really need to sign a striker

Barcelona have been linked with dozens of strikers in the January transfer window after losing Munir, and both Josep Maria Bartomeu and Ernesto Valverde have spoken about bringing in a new forward.

Valverde played Coutinho, Messi and Dembele in attack against Levante, giving Luis Suarez the night off, and it worked a treat with Barcelona scoring three goals.

They probably should have had a few more too, as they were guilty of missing some great chances throughout the 90 minutes.

It was the type of performance that made you wonder whether Barca even need to bring in a back-up striker to Suarez in January.

Barca looked a threat all night long against Levante without the Uruguayan, and the partnership between Messi and Dembele in particular was really impressive.

Of course an injury to any of the front men in the second half of the season would stretch the squad, but Barca have shown they already have enough quality to cover Suarez when he needs a rest.

Barca go through, but they could still get kicked out

FC Barcelona v Levante - Copa del Rey Round of 16 Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Barcelona may have won the match, but they may not be quite sure of their place in the quarter-finals just yet.

Levante president Quico Catalan confirmed before the match his club’s plan to contact the RFEF amid claims the holders fielded an ineligible player in their line-up for the first leg.

Chumi is the man in question. Levante reckon he should have been suspended after picking up five yellow cards. Barca reckon the suspension applied to league play and not the Copa del Rey.

The issue is further complicated by the fact Levante did not make the complaint within the time allowed.

What we do know is they plan to contact the RFEF on Friday, and the Spanish Football Federation must decide if they are to take the matter further.

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