Football, News 2018-02-27 6:26 AM

Coutinho moved to Barcelona from Liverpool for £142million in January and scored his second goal for the club during the 6-1 win against Girona at the weekend.

Former Reds team-mate Luis Suarez also bagged a hat-trick while Messi netted a brace in a fierce looking forward line.

But Balague has highlighted that Messi has started to play his game a little different now that Coutinho has arrived.

The Argentine apparently is now converting into a central midfielder instead of focussing on attacking.

The switch in position will also help the 30-year-old extend his game at the top as he begins to age.

“The key thing here is that he was playing in a new formation in which Philippe Coutinho may have started as a midfielder but quickly became a forward, and has Ousmane Dembele and Luis Suarez as well,” Balague “He has been consistent at the highest level which is something I don’t think you can say about anybody else in the last ten years or so – not at the level of Messi.”

The victory ensured Barcelona remain seven points clear at the top of the La Liga table.

Ernesto Valverde’s side are also 14 points ahead of third-placed Real Madrid.

“Barcelona were with four forwards so Messi had to do a little bit of midfield work, also as a No 10 and scored two as well.

“It was another complete performance from the little genius and that’s what separates him from the rest because for his entire career.

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