Dembele and Messi's first half goals were enough to see Barça comfortably passed Celta Vigo, as Valverde's men sign off 2018 with four wins in their last four games.
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - match report:
La Liga champions Barcelona ensured they will end the year sitting top of the table by strolling to a comfortable 2-0 win over Celta Vigo on Saturday, inspired by another superb display from Lionel Messi.
Messi played a pivotal role in Ousmane Dembele opening the scoring against the Galicians in the 10th minute, firing a shot at goal which Celta's Ruben Blanco could only parry at the feet of the French forward, who squeezed the rebound through the goalkeeper's legs.
The Argentine then scored a sixth goal in three La Liga games to stretch his side's advantage on the stroke of halftime, latching onto a pass from Jordi Alba and producing an irresistible finish beyond Blanco just as he entered the area.
Celta had conceded 18 goals in their previous four visits to the Nou Camp and although they fared better in defence this time, they struggled to cause Barca many problems, particularly after Spain international and top scorer Iago Aspas went off injured early in the second half.
Barca lead the standings on 37 points, three ahead of second-placed Atletico Madrid and six clear of Sevilla who play against Leganes on Sunday. Real Madrid, who were crowned Club World Cup champions on Saturday by beating Al Ain 4-1, are eight points back from Barca in fourth place but with a game in hand.
Match report by Reuters
94' Peep, peep, peep! That's it. A comfortable victory for Barca to round of 2018. They can now enjoy their Christmas break after four wins from their last four games -- with an aggregate score of 13-0.
91' Alba is fouled and Barca have a free kick from just outside the box. Messi steps up to take it, and he's placed just over the upright.
89' 90 seconds left here of normal time and the bite has been taken out of the game, a lot of fans have already headed towards the metro station
83' Brais Mendez has yet another decent effort from distance. From the corner of the box he hits a low shot to the near post, but it's saved by Ter Stegen.
79' Good link up play between Countinho and Messi. The latter draws four defenders and tries to feed a pass through the gap for oncoming Coutinho. But he's overcooked the pass and the keeper Blanco is first to it.
76' Celta change: Boufal makes way for Sisto
69' Dembélé makes way for Coutinho. It has been another decent turnout for the Frenchman, adding another goal to his name.
67' Chance Barcelona! Blanco spills a shot from Semedo, Messi is quickest to react, and slides to stab it in but Blanco makes up for his mistake, stopping Messi scoring his second from 3 yards out.
63' Vidal comes off for Arthur.
59' Chance Barca! Messi gets on the end of chipped pass on the left of the box, but he uncharestically passes it to a Celta defender rather than a team mate. A rare lapse of concentration from the Argentine.
56' Celta have had a bit more intent in this second half. Brais has a decent effort from just outside the box that is just wide of Ter Stegen's left post.
52' Beltran comes on for the injured Aspas.
52' Bad news for Celta Vigo as Iago Aspas hobbles off, to warm applause from home crowd. That will not help Celta's chances here. Aspas has scored in 4 of his 5 games against Barcelona before today, scoring 5.
45' Yokuslu is replaced by Lobotka in the Celta midfield
46' And the second half is underway!
47' That's the last action of the first half!! Barcelona are looking very comfortable here. It's hard to see a way back for Celta, who really haven't had much to give. Messi has given yet another masterclass so far. The Argentine has now played a part in seven of Barcelona's last seven goals, scoring four and providing assists for the other three.
45' GOAAALLLLL BARCA! Alba plays a beautiful long ball to Messi, who picks it up just outside the box, unmarked. The captain blasts it into the right corner with his left boot, as Blanco dives the wrong way and can only watch it sail in.
42' Celta have a real chance on the break. Brais Mendez, unmarked, is teed up on the right inside the box, but he blasts his shot way over. He should have done better, a chance blown for the visitors.
37' Play has been stopped to allow Celta keeper Blanco to recieve some attention. He appears to have a cut over his eye after a collision with his own player.
31' Rakitic on the right plays a wonderful pass towards Suarez in the box. But Costas and Blanco stretch to stop the ball before it reaches him. Turns out Suarez was offside anyway, but the pass from Rakitic was top drawer.
30' Shot from distance from Suarez on the right, but it sails over and wide.
27' Barca win a foul after Mallo's challenge on Dembele. Messi dribbles through the middle but Costas puts a stop to his run with a sliding tackle.
24' First real chance for Celta! Maxi Gomez hits a well struck low shot to the right of Ter Stegen, who gets down low to stop it. Decent effort and a decent save.
21' Suarez dispossesses Brais and Barca are on the break. He pushes it forward to Dembele. Dembele passes it to Messi, and continues his run. Messi plays a beautifully weighted ball into his path, but Blanco is first to it just outside his area. How quickly Barca can turn defence into attack. That could have been 2-0.
20' Celta appeal for penalty for a hand ball by Lenglet from Brais's cross. But ref says no and it's just a corner.
Barca comfortable in possession here, passing it around trying to work something. Eventually Mallo fouls Alba and the home side have a free kick in a dangerous area.
14' Messi's assist for Dembélé means he has been involved in 6 of Barcelona's last 6 goals, scoring 3 of them.
13' Alba has been very dangerous on the left. Celta will have to do more to contain him.
10' GOAAALLLLL BARCA!!! Alba sqaures it too Messi in the box. The Argentine's first time, low shot is blocked by Blanco in goal, but he can't hold the ball and Dembélé gets on the end of it to tap it in. 1-0 Barca!
8' Jordi Alba breaks down the left, his cross is deflected out for the corner, which Barca has taken short. They pass it around and look to build something on the left, but are eventually dispossessed by Celta. Danger averted for the visitors.
6' Celta do well to disposses Barcelona in their own box and are away on the break. But Barca clean it up at the back and are back in possession.
5' Messi delivers a free kick from the touch line. Celta boot it out for a corner.
2' Boufal beats two Barca players and gets a shot off from distance. It takes a deflection and out for a corner. Celtic do nothing from the resultant corner.
1' And we're off. Barcelona get the game underway.
Only one chanfe for Barca from their last game against Levante. Thomas Vermaelen is dropped and replaced by Semedo.
The teams making their way out from the tunnel. Almost ready to go here.
Head to head: Celta striking partnership of Aspas and Maxi Gomez have 18 goals between them this season; Messi and Suarez have 21. Potent strike forces for both sides tonight.
Starting on the right wing for Celta Vigo is Brais Mendez. Since making the jump from the first team in the summer, the 21-year-old has scored four goals and has five assists, an impressive start to his Primera Liga career.
Vidal, who starts tonight, has admitted being unhappy with his lack of first-team football at Barcelona in the early part of the season. You can read about that here.
The last time Messi faced Celta Vigo in Camp Nou, he netted 2 goals and provided the assist for Alba in a match that ended 5:0 to Barcelona
In the press conference earlier, Ernesto Valverde said: "We want to round off the year in style in front of our own fans, but we expect it to be tough"
Iago Aspas has managed to score in four of his last 5 games against Barcelona, scoring 5 in total. He has 10 goals to his name this season in LaLiga, placing him fourth in top scorer's list.
Atletico Madrid are currently 1-0 up against Espanyol with 20 minutes to go. If it stays that way then it they go level on top with Barcelona. That means Ernesto Valverde's side will be eager for a win to keep 3 points between them and Atléti.
Here's how results faired out between these two last season: Celta 2 - 2 Barcelona (Estadio de Balaídos); Barcelona 5 - 0 Celta (Camp Nou)
Celta starting XI: Ruben, Mallo, Costas, Araujo, Mazan, Mendez, Okay, Jozabed, Boufal, Iago, Maxi Gomez
Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen, Nemedo, Pique, Rakitic, Sergio, Suarez, Messi, Dembele, Lenglet, Jordi Alba, Vidal
Hello and welcome to our live coverage of Barcelona v Celta Vigo at Camp Nou. The game kicks off at 18.30 CET, by which time Atlético could be level on points with Barca at the top of the table, if they manage to beat Espanyol at the Wanda. But at half time it is currently 0-0 there.
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - as it happened
Barcelona vs Celta Vigo - preview:
Barcelona will be aiming to extend their lead at the top of the LaLiga table, as they host Celta Vigo at Camp Nou on Saturday.
Ernesto Valverde’s side go into the game having won their last two league games 11-0 on aggregate (2-0 against Villareal, 4-0 against Espanyol, 5-0 against Levante), and will be confident of picking up three points to keep them ahead of Sevilla and Atlético Madrid, who sit three points behind them.
Lionel Messi has had a major impact since his return from injury, scoring a hat trick and setting up Barca’s other two goals in their previous encounter with Levante. The Argentine talisman is currently LaLiga’s top scorer with 14 and will be expecting to add to his tally this evening.
Lying fourth in the LaLiga top scorers leaderboard with 10 goals is Celta Vigos’s Iago Aspas. He and his strike partner Maximiliano Gómez González have 18 goals between them in LaLiga and will be hoping to break down a strong Barca defence that have not conceded a goal in Barca’s last three league games.
Celta travel to Barcelona on the back of a decent run of recent form. Unbeaten in the last three games, they are currently sitting just three points off the Europa League places in tenth place. Miguel Cardoso's men will be looking for a better showing than their last visit to the Camp Nou in January, which ended 5-0 to the hosts, but will have to be have at their best to leave with at least point against a rampant Barcelona side.