La Liga Preview: Messi aims to bounce back

The Catalan giants lost 1-0 at home to Malaga last time out in the league, before picking up a 2-1 win in the first leg of their last 16 clash at the Etihad Stadium.

Messi missed a golden opportunity to effectively put that tie to bed when he saw a stoppage-time penalty saved by goalkeeper Joe Hart, before heading the rebound wide of an open goal.

However, Luis Suarez has backed his team-mate to bounce back when Barca take on struggling Granada on Saturday, insisting: "Leo knows how to deal with these situations."

Barca sit four points behind leaders Real Madrid, who welcome Villarreal to the Santiago Bernabeu on Sunday.

Real head into the clash on the back of three consecutive 2-0 wins in all competitions since losing 4-0 at local rivals Atletico Madrid earlier this month.

Atleti have the chance to put a significant dent in any Champions League aspirations Sevilla may have when the sides meet at Estado Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Sevilla are eight points adrift of Diego Simeone's men and five short of fourth-placed Valencia, who are at home to Real Sociedad.

At the other end of the table, basement club Cordoba's descent to the second tier shows no signs of slowing down following five consecutive defeats.

They head to Espanyol on Friday for a fixture which, on paper, appears unlikely to produce a much-needed win.

Levante have eased their relegation concerns with two wins in their last three fixtures and will be hopeful of climbing out of the bottom three at Rayo Vallecano.

Eibar's recent form matches that of bottom club Cordoba, so a win at home to Athletic Bilbao would be welcome, while Malaga look to follow up their win against Barca at home to Getafe.

Elsewhere, Deportivo La Coruna travel to Almeria, and Celta Vigo are at home to Elche.

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