Ernesto Valverde guarantees Barcelona won't take Celta Vigo lightly in Copa del Rey second leg

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Barcelona were held to a 1-1 draw at Celta Vigo in the first leg of their Copa del Rey tie.

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has warned his side against complacency ahead of the deciding leg of their last-16 Copa del Rey tie against Celta Vigo.

Valverde’s team head into the second leg at the Nou Camp on level terms with their opponents following last week’s 1-1 draw at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos.

Barcelona youngster Jose Arnaiz scored the opener – with Valverde fielding a weakened side – before Pione Sisto ensured Celta gave themselves a fighting chance to progress to the quarter-finals.

The visiting team will be full of confidence after drawing 2-2 with Barcelona’s rivals Real Madrid on Sunday and Valverde, who is likely to call upon Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez for the second leg, insists progression to the last eight must not be taken for granted.

“We can’t think that the result is in our favour because then there is the risk we will make a mistake,” Valverde said. “We won’t think like that. We want to win from the very first minute.

“The tie is slightly tilted in our favour because of the away goal but the advantage is minimal. We are going to try and win the game as if it was a league match, and that is how we have to approach it.

“We want to try and create chances because it is all or nothing as only one team will go through. It is a tie we have to win and it will be a good game to watch.”

Barcelona, nine points clear at the summit of La Liga, completed the finishing touches on Philippe Coutinho‘s British-record transfer from Liverpool, which could be worth up to £142million, on Sunday evening.

The 25-year-old Brazil international was paraded at the Nou Camp 24 hours later, but his debut will be delayed by three weeks due to a thigh injury.

Commenting on his arrival at the Catalan club, Valverde added: “He’s a great signing because he can adapt really well to the team’s style of play, he can play out wide or in the middle and he can score goals as well as creating them.

“We hope he will help us a lot and we are excited about his arrival. I am sure he will bring something different to the team.”

The likely presence of Messi in the line-up will not shift Celta’s tactical approach.

Coach Juan Carlos Unzue, a former Barca assistant boss under Luis Enrique, told Marca: “I don’t feel like employing man-marking on him for 90 minutes, even though some coaches have tried it.

“In a given moment you could mark Messi to make him uncomfortable, but what do we do with the rest of them? With [Andres] Iniesta, Luis Suarez, [Ousmane] Dembele and others?

“That’s why I think more about teamwork.”

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Philippe Coutinho meets new Barcelona team-mates and Luis Suarez again

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Back together: Coutinho and Suarez (via @LuisSuarez9 Twitter).

Philippe Coutinho met his new Barcelona team-mates for the first time on Tuesday following the completion of his €160million move to the Camp Nou.

Barcelona striker and former Liverpool teammate Luis Suarez welcomed his new colleague on Twitter, along with giving him a warm welcome at the club’s training facility.

Coutinho, who has signed a contract until 2023 with the runaway Spanish league leaders, played alongside Suarez at Liverpool until the Uruguayan made the same move in 2014.

The 25-year-old Brazilian did not take part in Tuesday’s training session with the rest of Ernesto Valverde’s squad as he has been ruled out until the end of January with a thigh injury.

Barcelona’s club record signing could make his debut against Alaves at the Camp Nou on Sunday, January 28.

The Catalans, who play Celta Vigo on Thursday in the second leg of their Copa del Rey last-16 tie, also saw French defender Samuel Umtiti return to training on Tuesday.

Umtiti had been expected to miss eight weeks after suffering a thigh injury in a 2-2 draw with Celta in La Liga on December 2, but could now come back a little earlier.

Barcelona drew 1-1 away to Celta in Galicia in the first leg last week as they look to win the Copa del Rey for the fourth season running.

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Philippe Coutinho pens emotional goodbye to Liverpool after Barcelona move

Alex Rea 9/01/2018
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Philippe Coutinho has penned an emotional and lengthy goodbye to Liverpool after completing his £142million move to Barcelona.

The Brazilian signed a five-and-a-half year deal on Monday, pulling on the Blaugrana jersey for the first time as he was officially present to the Camp Nou.

The 25-year-old’s debut is delayed, however, with a thigh injury keeping him out of action for three weeks but after an eventful week following a six month transfer saga, both Coutinho and the Reds are ready to move on.

Barca’s record signing thanked his Liverpool team mates, coach Jurgen Klopp, the support staff and the fans with a special message on his Instagram account.

“Since the moment I arrived in Liverpool, me and my family have been made to feel so welcome and have made so many friends,” Coutinho wrote.

“On the pitch and off the pitch, we have experienced the beauty of this club and its fans. In turn, I hope I have delivered memories and moments that have brought happiness to the Liverpool supporters.

“Moving to Liverpool, I knew the club’s greatness and history but what I did learn during my time was the unique heart and soul of the place. It has its own personality and character.”

Since the moment I arrived in Liverpool , me and my family have been made to feel so welcome and have made so many friends. On the pitch and off the pitch, we have experienced the beauty of this club and its fans. In turn, I hope I have delivered memories and moments that have brought happiness to the Liverpool supporters. Moving to Liverpool, I knew the club’s greatness and history but what I did learn during my time was the unique heart and soul of the place. It has its own personality and character. I leave Liverpool because Barcelona is a dream for me. Liverpool was a dream that I was fortunate enough to realise and I have given five years of my life to it. A career on the pitch only lasts for so long and to play for Barcelona as well as Liverpool is something I want to experience and enjoy while I am blessed enough to be able to do so. I hope the supporters understand that choosing to experience something new is not about diminishing their importance to me or the club’s importance. Nothing will ever diminish that in my heart. I wish Jürgen and the team nothing but joy and success for the rest of this season and beyond. This is an amazing team and they are getting better and better all the time. There are too many people I want to thank, but I cannot name everyone individually. To all the amazing club staff who have been part of my life in Liverpool - I will miss you. To the owners, whom have tried so hard to bring success, and to the football recruitment staff for showing faith in me to bring me here and rewarding me during that journey, and to my incredible teammates, past and present, who have helped me grow and improve as a player and a person, I would like to say thank you to you all. Anything I have achieved here would not have been possible without you. And finally, to the most important people of Liverpool - the Liverpool supporters. I can never thank you enough for what you have given me during this time and no matter where I go in the world, for the rest of my life, I will always cherish Liverpool in my heart. You, the club and the city will always be a part of me. You’ll Never Walk Alone. Philippe.

A post shared by Philippe Coutinho (@phil.coutinho) on

Coutinho plundered 54 goals in 202 games for the Reds as his midfield ingenuity lit up Anfield.

A crucial figure after the 2013/14 title-challenging squad was dismantled, the Brazil international matured into one of the finest playmakers on the planet during a five-year stay.

But Coutinho admitted the lure of a move to the Catalan giants was too strong.

“I leave Liverpool because Barcelona is a dream for me,” Coutinho continued. “Liverpool was a dream that I was fortunate enough to realise and I have given five years of my life to it.

“A career on the pitch only lasts for so long and to play for Barcelona as well as Liverpool is something I want to experience and enjoy while I am blessed enough to be able to do so.

“I hope the supporters understand that choosing to experience something new is not about diminishing their importance to me or the club’s importance. Nothing will ever diminish that in my heart.

All smiles: Coutinho at his Barcelona unveiling

All smiles: Coutinho at his Barcelona unveiling

“I wish Jurgen and the team nothing but joy and success for the rest of this season and beyond. This is an amazing team and they are getting better and better all the time.

“There are too many people I want to thank, but I cannot name everyone individually. To all the amazing club staff who have been part of my life in Liverpool – I will miss you.

“To the owners, whom have tried so hard to bring success, and to the football recruitment staff for showing faith in me to bring me here and rewarding me during that journey, and to my incredible team-mates, past and present, who have helped me grow and improve as a player and a person, I would like to say thank you to you all.

“Anything I have achieved here would not have been possible without you.

“And finally, to the most important people of Liverpool – the Liverpool supporters. I can never thank you enough for what you have given me during this time and no matter where I go in the world, for the rest of my life, I will always cherish Liverpool in my heart.

“You, the club and the city will always be a part of me. You’ll Never Walk Alone. Philippe.”

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