Barcelona News: What's Gone Wrong For Catalan Giants in La Liga?

Lionel Messi's goals have dried up in Barcelona's La Liga season.
Lionel Messi at Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain, April 17, 2016. Messi's goals have dried up for Barcelona this season. David Ramos/Getty

The race for the La Liga crown was thrown wide open on Sunday after Barcelona fell to its third consecutive league defeat—a first since 2003.

A Santiago Mina strike and an own-goal from Ivan Rakitic put Valencia too far ahead even for Lionel Messi to salvage the game.

The Argentina international struck his 500th career goal in the second half, but there were to be no celebrations as Atletico Madrid moved level on points and Real Madrid just one behind.

Part of the problem may be down to the slowing down of the so-called Trident, comprising Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar. Contributing a total of 100 goals to Barcelona's campaign, the trio has been pivotal in putting Barcelona at the top of La Liga.

In the three defeats, however, Messi has scored just once—his only goal in six games—while Suarez and Neymar have failed to find the back of the net.

Barcelona did suffer three consecutive defeats in April 2014 during Gerardo Martino's reign at the Camp Nou, but this included crashing out of the Champions League and the Copa Del Rey.

You have to rewind to February 2003 for the last time the club lost as many consecutive league matches, with a team including Frank de Boer, Patrick Kluivert and Carles Puyol, managed by Louis van Gaal.

On Wednesday, Luis Enrique takes his side to Deportivo La Coruna in a bid to return to winning ways and fend off the surge of the Madrid clubs.