Luis Suarez: 'It is a privilege to play with Lionel Messi'

Lionel Messi

Messi opened scoring in the 26th minute amid suspicion of offside and doubled the lead 10 minutes before the break.

The Argentina global attempted to weave his way through the visitor's defensive line, however was thwarted by a well-timed standing tackle which seemed to end the attack - only for the deflection to cannon off the head of the hapless retreating Papa Bouba Diop into the path of the unmarked defender inside the area and from there the finish was academic. He continues to show that there'll be a lot of Messi for a while yet.

"We are at the beginning of the season and the distances are not significant, but it is better to be ahead than behind", Valverde said.

As Messi looked to dart into the left side of the penalty box, the ball cannoned up off an Espanyol defender, before then being hit against team-mate Pape Diop.

A sublime second nearly arrived in the 31st minute - Rakitic adding further to an accomplished showing by gliding towards the box and exchanging passes with Messi to draw a superb save from Pau Lopez.

Uruguay forward Suarez, who only returned from worldwide duty on Friday, looked to be having one of those nights as he sent a cut-back from Messi over from six yards.

Espanyol were being outplayed but retained a sporadic threat, with Pique and Samuel Umtiti diverting Leo Batistao's 61st-minute shot behind.

So fond are Espanyol of their former striker that he has a gate named after him at their stadium but on Saturday they will be hoping to take advantage of institutional instability at Barcelona to end their torrid run at the Nou Camp.

With four minutes to go Pique rose highest to head in a corner from Rakitic.

His biggest highlight came on Barcelona's fifth goal of the night, when Dembele broke free down the right before rolling a ball across for Luis Suarez to slide home.

They next host Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

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