Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde hails Lionel Messi

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde hails Lionel Messi

Messi broke the deadlock after 25 minutes as he collected a through-ball from Ivan Rakitic to fire home.

Barcelona's new player Ousmane Dembele (R) poses with his new jersey next to Barcelona's president Josep Maria Bartomeu at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, during his official presentation at the Catalan football club, on August 28, 2017.br / French starlet Ousmane Dembele agreed a five-year deal with Barcelona worth 105 million euros ($125 million) plus add-ons.

Gerard Pique made it four with a powerful header from Rakitic's inswinging corner, and in the last minute Dembele rounded off a flawless night for Barca with a pinpoint assist for Suarez to convert.

They've now lost four points in a title race that's always about being extremely uncharitable when it comes to giving away points to the minnows of La Liga, which is pretty much everyone except for Real, the current Spanish and European champions, and Barcelona.

Barcelona made all the early running but suffered a scare in the 21st minute.

The Barcelona star opened the scoring despite being offside.

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There was, though, a let-off for Barcelona just before half-time when Espanyol forward Pablo Piatti saw his shot crash against the far post. Substitute Dembele set up Suarez for the fifth with a low cross which the Uruguayan slid back across goal into the right corner to complete the rout. The Argentine found Suarez who laid a pass onto the path of Jordi Alba. He needed time to settle and now he's looking better every day.

Lionel Messi (18) is the all-time top scorer in Catalonian derbies in La-Liga.

Barcelona have won 13 consecutive games at home in La Liga, their best run since January 2014 (25).

Suarez was back in the Barcelona line-up after an injury scare while on worldwide duty with Uruguay, but was not enjoying himself in front of goal as much as Messi, fluffing shot from a Gerard Deulofeu's cross before being denied by Pau early in the second period.

Espanyol has only scored twice in its last nine visits in La-Liga to Camp Nou, conceding 31 goals at an average of 3.44 per game.

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