Barcelona 2 Alaves 1: Suarez and Messi turn tables on brave visitors
Lionel Messi assumed the familiar role of hero as Barcelona averted a Camp Nou scare to beat struggling Alaves 2-1 in LaLiga.
Atletico Madrid's 3-0 win over Las Palmas earlier on Sunday placed a modicum of pressure on Ernesto Valverde's runaway leaders and it seemed to weigh upon them in a ragged first-half showing.
Philippe Coutinho made his full debut, but it was a more unheralded January signing, Alaves' Celta Vigo loanee John Guidetti, who threatened the upset with a fortuitous 23rd-minute opener.
Abelardo Fernandez's side remain two points above the drop zone and were left to rue missed chances by the time Luis Suarez netted for the eighth top-flight match in succession with 18 minutes to play.
Typically, it fell to Messi to apply the coup de grace as he curled a delightful free-kick home to spark raucous celebrations.
Barcelona remain undefeated and 11 points clear on their apparent procession to LaLiga glory.