Barcelona gave Messi the day off to mark the birth of his third son, but that did not stop the Catalans from dispatching relegation-threatened Malaga 2-0 in a la liga match played on Saturday.

Suarez headed in from Jordi Alba’s cross before Coutinho’s exquisite flick put the game beyond the hosts before half-time, as Barca made it 35 La Liga games unbeaten on the Costa del Sol.

Samuel Garcia was red carded for a poor challenge on Alba after 30 minutes, and Malaga’s relegation fears increased as they suffered their seventh consecutive league defeat.

The visitors coasted through the first half, registering 75 per cent possession, and should have taken the lead on 13 minutes when Ousmane Dembele hooked the ball in for Suarez to dart through on goal, but his strike was saved well by Roberto.

And it was 2-0 just 13 minutes later, Dembele the provider this time as his low cross was delightfully back-heeled past the goalkeeper by Coutinho for his second La Liga goal for Barcelona.

Suarez made amends for his miss just two minutes later, Alba taking his time to size up the run of the Uruguayan as he jogged in behind the Malaga defence to nod a perfect cross past Roberto.

Malaga remain 11 points from safety, while Barca increase their lead at the top to 11 points ahead of the visit of Chelsea on Wednesday.