Lionel Messi announces birth of his third son

Suarez headed home a looping cross from Alba to give Barca the lead in the 15th minute and his former Liverpool teammate Coutinho struck the second in the 28th with a backheel from close range after an impressive dribble from Ousmane Dembele.

Despite their one-man advantage, though, Barca didn't add to their tally after the break and Valverde conceded that thoughts had turned to Wednesday's crucial Champions League game against Chelsea.

Midfielder Garcia posted an apology on Twitter for his red card.

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The tone for proceedings was set early on, with the visitors displaying their strength and their unconquerable passing game on display from the whistle.

"Dembele is a great player and against Malaga he proved it", the Brazilian said.

Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho scored excellent goals with Messi missing inside the opening half hour and Barca's lead at the summit - with Atleti to host Celta Vigo on Sunday - is now 11 points. "He is young, he has had an important injury, and the spotlight is on him", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. It was the first time this season that Messi, La Liga's top scorer with 24 goals, has not been included in the matchday squad for a league game. "He knows that he will score".

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Following on from the Champions League victory over Paris St Germain, another success for Zinedine Zidane's side means they have won eight of their last nine matches across all competitions. "He showed it again today, he played really well".

"These are more than just three points", Moreno said.

Coutinho, relishing a free creative role with no Messi in the side, was close to his second of the night when some smart interchanges saw Paulinho lay-off to his compatriot but Roberto was equal to yet another unsafe effort.

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"Chelsea will be a tough match, just like the first leg".