All the noise that Barcelona will be unable to keep up with Real Madrid this season is quickly dissipating.
There will be more difficult tests to come but so far Ernesto Valverde’s side looks ready to compete with Los Blancos as they hope to reclaim the La Liga title.
Barcelona’s record through three matches reads three wins, nine goals scored and none conceded.
The latest victory came against Espanyol in a one-sided Catalan derby on Saturday.
Lionel Messi scored a hat-trick - the 42nd of his career - and Gerard Pique and Luis Suarez got in on the act to complete a resounding 5-0 win.
It was the perfect response to Real Madrid’s 1-1 draw against Levante in the early kick-off.
We’ll get a better idea of where this Barcelona side, which was dismantled by Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup last month, stack ups with Europe’s best when they take on Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.
But it’s safe to say that things are pretty rosy right now. Messi looks phenomenal, Ousmane Dembele provided an assist on his debut, Suarez scored on his first start in the league and even Pique is getting in on the act.
Suarez's reaction when Pique ruined his overhead kick
The centre-back made it 4-0 when he headed home home Ivan Rakitic’s corner in the 87th minute.
If you watch a replay, you’ll notice that Suarez was lining up an overhead kick when but Pique beat him to the ball.
And while Dembele offered the Spaniard a hug, Suarez saw fit to slap him on the head. Not once, but twice.
Watch the video below.
They don’t look like playful slaps, either.
Suarez did score, though
That said, Suarez only needed to wait three minutes before he was on the scoresheet.
The 30-year-old, who missed two matches due to a knee injury, turned home following Dembele’s inch-perfect pass.
Return from injury
Suarez isn’t the type of player who enjoys watching on from the sidelines so it’s hardly surprising that he returned from the injury earlier than expected.
In his opinion, playing matches is the best way to speed up the rehabilitation process.
“After a few days in a poor physical condition, I picked up the pace with the team, the coach asked me how I was during the game but with a knee injury, it is better to try and build rhythm,” he said after the win, per Marca.