Barcelona news: Luis Suarez forced to defend Philippe Coutinho after poor league debut

The Brazilian was handed his first start since making the £142million switch from Liverpool at the start of the January transfer window.

And he lined up alongside his former Anfield team-mate as they almost succumbed to a shock result against minnows Alaves.

Former Manchester City striker John Guidetti stuck an unlikely opener for the relegation-threatened outfit.

However, Suarez and Lionel Messi scored late goals to rescue a win from the jaws of defeat.

Coutinho, who was deployed on the right side of midfield, was withdrawn after 66 minutes with his side still trailing.

But Suarez leaped to the 25-year-old’s defence after the match insisting that the Nou Camp is a difficult place to make a debut.

“It’s difficult to debut in the Camp Nou in the league,”Suarez said. 

“Philippe did very well trying in the game and the team are happy with his contribution.”

Barcelona regained their nine point gap at the top of the table with victory.

And Suarez was delighted his side continued their excellent league form in a tricky tie.

“We are achieving our objectives as a team and at an individual level I am very happy,” he added. 

“In the second half we knew what we had to do and we got three points.”