Barcelona came back from a two-goal deficit to claim a 2-2 draw against Valencia at the Camp Nou.
Valencia started the game brightly, and Denis Cheryshev hit the post in the early minutes. The away side soon had the lead, when Kevin Gameiro ran onto Rodrigo's through ball to finish emphatically. To Camp Nou's disbelief, Valencia doubled their lead. Sergi Roberto fouled Daniel Wass, and Daniel Parejo converted from the spot.
Barcelona pulled one back before half-time, when they were awarded a penalty as well. Lionel Messi dispatched it coolly to reignite the home fans. Messi had his second after the interval, which leveled the game at 2-2. The Argentine curled his effort from outside the box around the hour mark, and Barcelona had parity.
Messi was injured late on, though he did continue for the 90 minutes. Both the sides failed to find an eventual winner, and the spoils were shared. Valencia stay in 7th place, whereas Barcelona extended their lead at the top to 6 points.
Here are the major talking points from an enthralling game.
#5 Valverde failing to find a balance between rotation and injuries
The month that is to come is a huge one for Barcelona. Lyon await them in the Champions League round of 16. Real Madrid await them in the Copa Del Rey semi-finals. The title race is heating up as well, as Atletico Madrid refuse to let up.
This calls for a strong and deep squad, which Barcelona don't actually have at the moment. Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti are both out with injuries, which leaves Barcelona devoid of two star players. There is no backup left-back at Valverde's disposal, and Sergio Busquets's accumulation of yellow cards meant that he missed the game due to suspension.
Valverde rested the likes of Jordi Alba and Arthur, giving a chance to Carles Alena and playing Sergi Roberto at left-back. Thomas Vermaelen was also afforded a game, as Clement Lenglet was benched. It did not pay off for him, as a weakened Barcelona failed to assert their dominance. As the crucial fixtures pile up, it will be interesting to see how Valverde manages his squad.