Lionel Messi's highlights vs Levante showed how he works with Coutinho and Dembele

The three forwards started together in the Copa del Rey

Barcelona are into the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey - at least for now. 

After a surprise 2-1 defeat in the first leg, the Blaugrana put Levante to the sword in the second as they recoded a 3-0 victory on the night. 

Levante will be confident that they might yet have the last laugh, however, as they have made an official complaint over Barca fielding an ineligible player at the Estadi Ciutat de València last week. 

Juan Brandáriz, also known as Chumi, was suspended for Barcelona 'B' having picked up five yellow cards but took to the pitch as part of Ernesto Valverde's starting XI. 

It's quite possible that the club will be kicked out of the competition, as that was the precedent set when Real Madrid committed the same offence back in 2015 for fielding Denis Cheryshev. 

They continue to protest their innocence, citing a rule change back in November that suggested such suspensions wouldn't apply to cup competitions, only La Liga. 

Even if his side's exploits were ultimately in vain, there were plenty of positives for Valverde to take from their performance, particularly the way Philippe Coutinho, Ousmane Dembele, and Lionel Messi linked up. 

Dembele scored two scrappy goals within a couple of minutes of each other before Messi put the result beyond doubt. 

Dembele steals headlines, but Messi superb as ever 

The Argentine was playing in between Dembele and Coutinho and both attackers seemed to benefit from the way he made the front line tick. 

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner puts in these performances so regularly that they can, on occasion, go under the radar. 

Yet, his efforts won't have gone unnoticed by his team-mates. Both Coutinho and Dembele have arguably struggled since moving to the Nou Camp.

The latter has had disciplinary issues, while the Brazilian has been solid enough without ever really shining in the way he was accustomed to at Liverpool. 

Playing up top in a 4-3-3, Messi pulled the strings and they all benefited. He assisted both Dembele goals, with a little assistance from the Levante defence, and his work through the middle allowed Coutinho a lot more freedom.  

The three don't start together all that often, but we could well see more of it when Luis Suarez eventually bows out. 

In the process, he also notched up a very impressive statistic of his own. It was Messi's 660 appearances and his strike, combined with his assists, means that he has now been involved in an astonishing 800 goals for Barcelona. 

An incredible feat and one he's sure to build on even more. 

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