Coutinho made his first start in a Barcelona shirt on Sunday when playing in the 2-1 La Liga win over Alaves.

But manager Ernesto Valverde brought the former Liverpool star off before full time.

And now the boss has sent Coutinho to the substitutes bench for tonight’s Copa del Rey encounter with Valencia.

Coutinho cost Barcelona £142million but is yet to complete a full 90 minutes for the La Liga leaders.

He arrived from Liverpool with a thigh injury and only made his debut in the previous Copa del Rey clash with Espanyol – the Brazilian coming off the bench that day.

And Valverde has instead picked Aleix Vidal over the 25-year-old for tonight’s semi-final first leg.

Plenty of Barcelona have have expressed their shock at the decision.

But some have voiced their understanding in Valverde’s selection.

One wrote on Twitter: “I am not surprised by the appearance of Aleix Vidal as the 11th man. Valverde when he plays 1-4-4-2 needs depth on the right. Coutinho doesn’t fit that plan.”

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez start up front for Barcelona tonight as they seek to continue the defence of their title won last year.

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