Cesc Fabregas' first half brace opened the floodgates for Pep Guardiola's men, who ran out comprehensive winners to move within three points of their bitter rivalsBarcelona was a convincing victor as it thumped Levante 5-0 at Camp Nou in La Liga to keep the pressure on Real Madrid at the top of the table ahead of next weekend's Clasico.
Cesc Fabregas grabbed a brace before Isaac Cuenca gave the home team a 3-0 lead at the break. Lionel Messi and Alexis Sanchez completed the rout in the second half.
The result leaves Pep Guardiola's men three points behind Madrid, which has a game in hand over its fierce Catalan rival, while Levante remains in fourth place.
Barcelona started the game brightly and was a goal to the good after only four minutes. Messi found Andres Iniesta, who saw his quick-thinking backheel trickle to the feet of Cesc Fabregas on the edge of the Levante penalty area. The former Arsenal man controlled the ball before carefully placing it into the bottom corner of the net.
In the 20th minute the Catalan club could have doubled its lead, but Gustavo Munua was on cue to deny the home side as he parried Messi's free kick from 20 meters. From the rebound, Carles Puyol could not make clean contact from close range, with Munua eventually claiming the ball cleanly.
Barcelona's lead doubled in the 33rd minute as Fabregas again got the better of Munua. Xavi whipped an inviting free kick into the box and Fabregas leaped highest to power his header into the top corner, leaving the keeper helpless as Barcelona grabbed a rare goal from a set piece.
Guardiola's men were three up in the 37th minute with a wonderful team goal that was coolly finished by youngster Isaac Cuenca, who registered his second Barcelona goal. Messi's clever run saw the Argentine slide the ball to Iniesta, who then quickly moved it to Cuenca just inside the box for the winger to strike into the bottom - an instinctive finish from the Masia youth product to give his team a comfortable lead at the interval.
Barcelona was 4-0 up in the 55th minute when Messi grabbed his 17th league goal of the season to draw level with Cristiano Ronaldo. Substitute Dani Alves slid a precise through ball to the 24-year-old, who made no mistake in slamming his shot into the bottom corner of the net.
In the 61st minute, the home side made it five with a devastating counterattack. Messi found Alexis Sanchez just inside the box in a yard of space. The Chilean attacker controlled the ball before lifting it over Munua via a slight deflection off Asier Del Horno for his third goal in a week.
Iniesta had a sixth goal controversially chalked off for offside in the 88th minute as the Blaugrana comfortably kept another clean sheet this season.
Barcelona is next in action on Tuesday evening when it faces BATE Borisov in the Champions League at Camp Nou before travelling to the Santiago Bernabeu on December 10 to face Madrid.