Luis Suarez netted four times and set up three more to help Barcelona to an 8-0 win over Deportivo La Coruna at Estadio Riazor on Wednesday, ending the champions’ four-game winless streak in La Liga.
Luis Enrique men’s desperately needed to respond after defeats at the hands of Real Madrid, Real Sociedad and Valencia had eroded their lead at the top of the standings, leaving them level on points with second-placed Atletico Madrid going into the match.
Suarez led his team all the way as he took his tally for 2015-16 to 49 goals in all competitions, equalling his season’s best at Ajax in 2009-10.
The Uruguay international opened the scoring early on after a corner from Ivan Rakitic, before doubling Barca’s lead after a sublime assist from Lionel Messi.
Suarez then turned provider as he set up Rakitic for the Catalans’ third early in the second half, only to find the net two more times in the remainder of the game to take his tally in La Liga this season to 30.
Barcelona did not stop there, though, as Messi, Marc Bartra and Neymar heaped more misery on the hosts, the Catalan giants restoring their three-point lead ahead of Atletico’s match away to Athletic Bilbao and Madrid’s home game against Villarreal later on Wednesday.
The away side had pushed hard for an early goal from kick-off and threatened via Suarez and Messi in the opening 10 minutes, the former firing just wide from a narrow angle after a clever ball from Andres Iniesta, before the Argentine had his attempt kept out by Deportivo goalkeeper Manu.
The Catalans got their early opening in the 11th minute. Suarez shrugged off Sidnei after a corner from Rakitic and left Manu no chance, volleying home from close range.
Suarez then struck again to double Barcelona’s lead in the 24th minute. Messi found his Uruguayan team-mate with a delicate throughball and the former Liverpool ace beat Manu with a calm finish.
The prolific attacker should have gotten his hat-trick after a superb cross from Dani Alves from the right, but he miraculously managed to steer it wide from just yards out.
Rakitic worsened Deportivo’s woes in the 47th minute, making it three after some great work from Suarez.
There was no stopping Suarez at the Riazor and the striker got his hat-trick in the 53rd minute, slotting past Manu with the outside of his right boot after another Messi assist.
Things went from bad to worse for Deportivo and Suarez got his fourth of the evening after some good work from Neymar.
That was not the end of it just yet, though, as Suarez then lost his marker with a fine individual action before reaching Messi to make it 6-0.
Bartra also found the net late on after a strong solo run, while Neymar made it eight after yet another Suarez assist as Barcelona returned to winning ways in impressive fashion.
Key Opta stats:
-Luis Suarez is the first player to have a hand in seven goals in a La Liga game in the 21st century (four goals, three assists).
-Deportivo suffered the biggest La Liga defeat in their history.
-Luis Suarez has the most the goals (49) and assists (21) of any Spanish-based player this season (all competitions).
-Lionel Messi has supplied two assists in an away game for the first time this season (all competitions).
Luis Suarez has now scored 30 goals in La Liga in 2015/16. Excluding Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the last Barcelona player to reach 30+ goals was Samuel Eto’o (30 in 08/09).
-Luis Suarez has scored six hat-tricks this season, as many as Cristiano Ronaldo (all competitions).
-Ivan Rakitic has both scored and assisted in a game for Barcelona for the first time this season (all comps).
-Lionel Messi has scored more goals at Riazor than in any other rival ground in La Liga (10 goals).