Messi scores as Barca move top of La Liga

Barcelona’s ‘MSG’ is finally up and running as Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann all scored in a ruthless 3-0 victory over Eibar on Saturday.

Griezmann’s place in the newly-formed attacking trident has not been secure this season but the Frenchman opened the scoring at Ipurua before teeing up Messi and then playing the crucial pass for Suarez to make it three.

An authoritative Barca display thrusts them to the top of La Liga, for a few hours at least before Real Madrid play Real Mallorca, and dismissed suggestions the players might be affected by Friday’s postponement of the Clasico due to protests in Catalonia.

This was their fifth consecutive victory in all competitions, a sequence which is swiftly erasing memories of their stumbling start to the season.

The resurgence has coincided with Messi’s return from injury but it was the fluidity and cohesion of the front three, rather than the Argentinian’s familiar solo brilliance, that will have been most pleasing for Valverde.

Suarez tried his luck from the halfway line early on before Griezmann’s finish clipped the inside of the post and found the net after 13 minutes.

Messi should have made it two before half-time but was denied one-on-one by goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic. He then he played Suarez through but the Uruguayan’s goal was ruled for offside.

Barca did make it two just before the hour as Frenkie de Jong’s incisive ball was collected by Suarez. As he lost control, Griezmann took over, flicking left to Messi, who made no mistake.

The third involved all three again. Griezmann’s superb reverse pass set Messi clear and while he could have had his second, he generously slipped the ball left for Suarez who found the back of an open goal.

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