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La Liga: Luis Suarez is irreplaceable, says Barcelona coach

Coach Enrique hails Luis Suarez’s hat-trick show as Barcelona beat Eibar 3-1

Madrid: Barcelona coach Luis Enrique hailed Luis Suarez as "priceless" and "irreplaceable" as the Uruguayan scored a hat-trick to take the Catalans back level with Real Madrid at the top of La Liga with a 3-1 win over Eibar on Sunday. Suarez was celebrating the first anniversary of his debut as a Barca player after having to sit out the first two months of last season due to a four-month ban for biting Giorgio Chiellini at the 2014 World Cup.

Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates his hat-trick during the La Liga match against Eibar on Sunday. Pic/Getty Images
Barcelona's Luis Suarez celebrates his hat-trick during the La Liga match against Eibar on Sunday. Pic/Getty Images  
The former Liverpool man has made quite an impact in 12 months as his three goals took his tally to 35 on top of winning the treble of Champions League, La Liga and Copa del Rey last season. "What he gives you is priceless, unnegotiable and if he is clinical like today then hats off to him," said Enrique.

"He is a fundamental and irreplaceable player for us." Suarez came to his side's rescue after Barca had gone behind for the eighth time in 15 games this season to Borja Baston's 10th minute opener. "We gifted the first goal and from then against a team like Eibar the difficulties start.

Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique 

"It was difficult for us and we turned the game around more thanks to our intensity than playing at our best." However, the biggest drawback of the evening for the European champions was Javier Mascherano's straight red card seven minutes from time.

The Argentine was dismissed for protesting towards referee Carlos del Cerro Grande and could now miss next month's clash with Real Madrid should he receive the normal ban for such offences of four games. "To miss four games would be harsh," added Enrique.

Atletico win 2-1
Meanwhile, Atletico Madrid moved up to third, two points behind the leaders, thanks to goals from Jackson Martinez and Yannick Ferreira Carrasco in a 2-1 win over Valencia. The on-form Borja Baston fired Eibar into a shock lead just 10 minutes in at the Camp Nou, but Suarez restored parity with a bullet header and then put Barca in front just after the break.

La Liga standings

Real Madrid 9 6 3 0 21 3 21

Barcelona 9 7 0 2 20 12 21

Atletico Madrid 9 6 1 2 14 5 19

Celta Vigo 9 5 3 1 18 11 18

Villarreal 9 5 2 2 13 7 17

Deportivo La Coruna 9 3 4 2 14 11 13

Eibar 9 3 4 2 12 10 13

Sevilla 9 3 3 3 13 12 12

Valencia 9 3 3 3 8 7 12

Real Betis 9 3 3 3 9 13 12

Espanyol 9 4 0 5 10 20 12

Athletic Bilbao 9 3 2 4 13 12 11

Getafe 9 3 1 5 10 13 10

Rayo Vallecano 9 3 1 5 11 17 10

Real Sociedad 9 2 3 4 10 9 9

Malaga 9 2 3 4 5 7 9

Sporting Gijon 9 2 3 4 10 14 9

Las Palmas 9 1 3 5 6 13 6

Granada 9 1 3 5 9 17 6

Levante 9 1 3 5 6 19 6

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