Messi starts: Levante v Barcelona Live

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(Sporting Alert) — Lionel Messi makes his first La Liga start since Nov. 1, while Alexis Sanchez returns to the starting lineup for Barcelona in today’s clash against Levante.

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Messi had been out injured and played most of his minutes in his return off the bench. The Argentine started and scored twice against in the Copa del Rey win over Getafe in midweek and has been handed back his starting place in the league.

Meanwhile, Sanchez, who has so far scored 11 goals in 15 appearances this season, will join Messi and Pedro, who also comes back into the starting team after starting on the bench against Getafe.

Injured Neymar is out with an ankle problem.

Victor Valdes, Javier Mascherano and Gerard Piqué also start the game at Ciutat de Valencia as Barcelona look to go back three-points ahead of Real Madrid, which won on Saturday, as well as try and take an early advantage over fellow leaders Atletico Madrid before they kick off two hours later.

Barcelona XI: 1. Victor Valdes, 2. Martin Montoya, 3. Gerard Pique, 18. Jordi Alba, 4. Cesc Fabregas, 6. Xavi, 14. Javier Mascherano, 16. Sergio Busquets, 7. Pedro, 9. Alexis Sanchez, 10. Lionel Messi.

Levante XI: 1. Keylor Navas, 4. David Navarro, 6. Loukas Vyntra, 12. Juanfran, 15. Nikos Karabelas, 19. Pedro Lopez, 8. Nabil El Zhar, 11. Ruben Garcia, 21. Andreas Ivanschitz, 23. Papa Kouli Diop, 24. Simao.