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Philippe Coutinho starts Barcelona career on bench vs. Espanyol

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Valverde: We have high hopes for Coutinho (0:30)

Ernesto Valverde discusses the many facets of Philippe Coutinho's game after the Brazilian made his Barcelona debut off the bench against Espanyol. (0:30)

Philippe Coutinho made his Barcelona's debut in the club's 2-0 second-leg quarterfinal win against rivals Espanyol in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Coutinho, a €160 million signing from Liverpool earlier this month, was given the green light to return from a thigh injury on Wednesday but was forced to wait until the 68th minute to make his Barca bow, when he came in for Andres Iniesta after starting the game on the substitutes' bench.

Fellow new signing Yerry Mina also began Thursday's game as a substitute against Espanyol, with whom Coutinho played in 2012 on a brief loan spell.

Ernesto Valverde's side surprisingly included Aleix Vidal, who is in talks over a move to Roma this month. Jasper Cillessen continued in goal, having played in every Copa del Rey match so far this season.

Valverde has decided against taking too many risks with his team selection, though, after seeing both Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid exit the competition this week.

Atletico were well-beaten over two legs by Sevilla, while Madrid were stunned by Leganes at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday. Valencia are the third team already into the last four. They beat Alaves on penalties.

Barca, who have won the Copa del Rey in each of the past three seasons, lost to city rivals Espanyol last week thanks to Oscar Melendo's 87th-minute goal.

It brought an end to Valverde's side's 29-game unbeaten run, which stretched back to the Spanish Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid in August.

They returned to form in stunning fashion at the weekend, however, beating Real Betis 5-0 in La Liga, with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez each scoring twice.