Barca 'began to think about Chelsea' during La Liga win

The Argentina global pulled out of the trip to Malaga on the morning after the game after his wife, Antonela Roccuzzo, gave birth to their third son.

Coutinho nearly capped off a great evening with his second goal, another sublime interchange with Suarez nearly brought the Brazilian in for the goal but he couldn't quite gather the ball before Roberto had charged him down.

"But something nice has happened in his life, I congratulate him and now we're waiting for him to return for the next match".

"He didn't need a game like this as we all know he is a magnificent player", Rakitic said. Barcelona will look to make good on the 1-1 draw it earned in the away leg of their round-of-16 tie.

The Argentine has scored four goals in his last three La Liga games for leaders Barca, who will go 11 points clear with victory at the La Rosaleda Stadium.

Barcelona are set to be hosted by Malaga later on Saturday in the 28th round of La Liga.

Ronaldo has roared back from a feeble start to the season, when he scored just once in his first eight league games, to reach 18 goals in the campaign.

Dembele used a quick cut back in the area to open a passing lane and slipped a ball to Coutinho, who completed the move with a skillful flick of the inside of his right boot to beat Jimenez.

Dembele - who joined the Catalan giants from Borussia Dortmund for £135.5m in August - is still yet to score for his new club.

"Dembele's a player that needs time, he's young", Valverde added.

"The match was really just about the first half", Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde said. "He played better than in other matches, but he always tries".

Cristiano Ronaldo continued his impressive scoring run by netting a brace to guide Real Madrid to a late 2-1 victory against Eibar.

  • Steve Townsend