Barcelona team news: Dembele makes first start since September

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The France international had been out with a hamstring injury for much of the first half of the season but returns to the XI at Camp Nou

Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele has been named in the starting XI for his side's Liga clash with Levante.

The €105 million summer signing from Borussia Dortmund has not started for the Blaugrana since suffering a hamstring injury against Getafe in September.

But, after coming off the bench against Celta Vigo in the Copa del Rey in midweek, he starts alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.

Ernesto Valverde is without the suspended Sergio Busquets as his side return to league action following the winter break, meaning Ivan Rakitic will be deployed in a deeper midfield role.

Barcelona XI GFX

Gerard Pique is only a substitute while Samuel Umtiti remains out with an injury, which allows Thomas Vermaelen to continue alongside Javier Mascherano at the heart of the Barca defence.

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Valverde's side kick-off six points clear at the top of the Liga table while a victory would see them move 17 points clear of rivals Real Madrid ahead of the Blancos' visit to Celta Vigo on Sunday evening.

Barcelona XI: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Mascherano, Vermaelen, Alba; Paulinho, Rakitic, Iniesta, Dembele, Messi, L.Suarez.

Subs: Cillessen, Semedo, Pique, Digne, D.Suarez, Gomes, Arnaiz.

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