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Philippe Coutinho Set For Barcelona Debut On Thursday In Copa Del Rey

Philippe Coutinho, who became the second most expensive footballer of all-time after joining Barcelona from Liverpool on Jan. 6, looks set for his Barca debut after returning to full first-team training following a spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury.

Coutinho could be seen training with the side prior to the weekend’s 5-0 drubbing of Real Betis, and the 25-year-old Brazilian was again in action at yesterday’s recovery session.

Barcelona’s next match is the second leg of their Copa del Rey quarterfinal tie with derby rivals Espanyol at the Camp Nou. Espanyol shocked Barcelona 1-0 in the first leg, bringing an end to a 29-game unbeaten streak for the Blaugrana.

Coutinho spent a half-season on loan at Espanyol from Inter Milan back in 2012. The Brazilian was a massive success in Catalonia, scoring five goals in 16 appearances under one Mauricio Pochettino. 

Philippe Coutinho Barcelona debut

Coutinho back when he was Espanyol Boy. Photo: @alemao_mario | Twitter

Trailing 1-0 and with Andres Iniesta stepping up his own recovery from injury, it’s extremely unlikely that Coutinho will be handed his first start. If we do see the Brazilian, it’ll most likely be as a substitute. 

Barca return to action only three days later with a home league match against 16th-placed Alaves. That would be a much safer bet with regards to Coutinho’s first-ever Barcelona start.

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