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Suarez accepts striking struggles in Barca romp

Ernesto Valverde banks on debutant Ousmane Dembele to make instant impact against Espanyol

Today, in a 5-0 win over Espanyol, was the first time Los Cules looked like a title team, even if most of it was Lionel Messi taking his ability and execution up a notch, finishing with an effortless hat trick.

Messi opened the scoring in the 25th minute, although replays showed the five-time Ballon d'Or victor was in an offside position when he received Ivan Rakitic's pass. But the Argentinean Wizard didn't stop there, he went-on to complete his hat-trick after the break from another Alba cross, putting Barca in a commanding position.

Defender Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez added late goals, the latter set up by debutant Ousmane Dembele, as Barcelona maintained the only 100 per cent record in the division.

Barcelona are the only side in La Liga to have taken maximum points from the three games played and the team are yet to concede a goal.

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.

LLUIS GENE  GettyImages
LLUIS GENE GettyImages

However, replays showed Messi had been at least a yard offside as the Espanyol back line stepped up.

"We don't need to go insane".

The visitors missed another great chance to reduce the deficit early in the second half when full-back Alba inadvertently laid the ball off to Piatti as Marc-Andre ter Stegen had come out to collect a long ball up field.

Speaking on his new signing, Valverde said: "Dembele has been getting better every day, [but] he is a very young 20-year-old kid".

Dembele has the unenviable task of replacing the departed Neymar and Barca's 105 million-euro man had to wait until 22 minutes from time for his debut as he replaced Gerard Deulofeu to a standing ovation.