Lionel Messi
“Slowly but surely I will be getting there to hopefully peak at the right time of the year.” - Lionel MessiReuters

La Liga leaders Barcelona will begin the second half the season with a trip to Valencia on Sunday, where they take on mid-table Levante.

Where to Watch Live

The game is scheduled for a 6pm GMT (11.30pm IST) start with live coverage on Star Sports 4 and Star Sports HD2 in India. The match can also be caught via live streaming online HERE in India, while the Middle East and North Africa viewers can live stream the match HERE. Catch the action in the US HERE. 

The Catalans remain top of the league table but only on goal difference, as this season's surprise package Atletico Madrid and their archrivals Real Madrid continue to breathe down the Blaugrana's necks, though the latter has played an extra game.

Gerardo Martino's men have had a mini slump in the absence of talisman Lionel Messi, as they lost to Ajax and Athletic Bilbao inside a week, towards the end of November. However, with the Argentine star back in the squad and back amongst the goals, Barcelona will now be hoping to post an impressive run of results, as they look to race clear of the Madrid duo. 

Levante, on the other hand, have won their last two matches (both at home) with cleansheets and will fancy their chances of getting a positive result at the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia tonight. They are currently 11th in the league table, seven points clear of drop zone.

Barca had defeated Levante 7-0 in the season opener back in August but the hosts have recovered from their disastrous start to the season, and a similar scoreline is highly unlikely tonight.

Both clubs come into this tie off the back of Copa del Rey success in midweek, with Levante beating Rayo Vallecano and Barcelona eliminating Getafe. 

Team News

Levante: Striker David Barral is suspended, while defender David Navarro (calf) and forward Baba Diawara (abdominal strain) remain on the sidelines.

Barcelona: Andres Inieta (bruised knee) will be rested tonight, while Neymar (ankle) has been sidelined for a month after spraining his ankle on against Getafe on Thursday.

Expected lineups: Levante:  Navas; P Lopez, Vyntra, Juanfran, Karabelas; Mate, S Pinto, Xumetra, R Garcia, Ivanschitz; El Zhar

Barcelona: Valdes; Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Pedro, Messi, Alexis

Prediction: 2-0 to Barca