A double from Luis Suarez gave Barcelona a 2-1 victory over Las Palmas on Saturday, helping them bounce back from their 1-4 thrashing at the hands of Celta Vigo and provisionally putting them on top of the La Liga, but it came at a cost with Lionel Messi limping off injured.
The Catalan side lost Messi after just nine minutes with a knee injury following a clash of legs and the Argentine is expected to be sidelined for up to two months.
Suarez gave Barcelona the breakthrough with a powerful header from a Sergi Roberto cross after 25 minutes and then fired into the roof of the net following a well-worked move in the 54th minute. Neymar blazed a penalty over the crossbar after 66 minutes and Las Palmas pulled a goal back with a deflected Jonathan Viera strike two minutes from fulltime.
Barcelona have 15 points from six games and are two points ahead of Real Madrid, Celta Vigo and Villarreal, who are in a three-way tie for second place.
Real host Malaga, Villarreal welcome Atletico Madrid and Celta visit Eibar later on Saturday.
“He (Messi) is the best player in the world, our best player and the most dangerous so we are going to notice this,” midfielder Sergio Busquets told reporters. “We are having a lot of bad luck with injuries and particularly now when we cannot sign players.”
The game was barely under way when Messi, who was in the process of shooting, collided with Daniel Castellano after three minutes.
He tried to continue but was eventually forced off the pitch, with the club later confirming that tests had shown he had suffered knee ligament damage.
Suarez’s opening goal was Barcelona’s first clear chance, with the Uruguayan jumping well to direct his header into the corner. The tension was taken out of the game when Suarez doubled his tally, cracking the ball home from 12 metres after Munir El Haddadi crossed from the right and Busquets left the ball for the former Liverpool striker to finish.
Neymar’s missed penalty followed a handball by Antolin Alcaraz while the lively Viera got a consolation for Las Palmas with a shot that deflected off Pique.