The Argentine is in sensational form at the moment and mounted a one-man comeback in Barcelona's 2-2 draw with Valencia, in which he netted both goals.
Barcelona owns a six-point edge on Atleti, which will travel to play mid-table Real Betis on Sunday. Lionel Messi duly slotted away the spot-kick for his 20th league goal of the season.
As well as Messi, there are also doubts about Ousmane Dembele's availability for the game.
Not for the first time Barca relied upon some magic from their five-time world player of the year, who followed up his late first-half penalty with a brilliant curling equaliser.
Valverde threw on Alba at the start of the second half and his side immediately looked more risky yet once again their fate rested on the brilliance of their all-time top scorer Messi, who struck his 21st league goal of the season to level the game.
Neto had to make another wonderful stop to keep out a long-range Alena strike in the 53rd minute as Barcelona continued to work the ball into shooting positions at Camp Nou.
Lionel Messi receives treatment after sustaining an injury.
His double against Valencia means he has now scored in nine consecutive matches while registering a total of 12 goals in that period.
Rodrigo had another chance in the 63rd minute, but he turned a Cheryshev cross just wide of the post as Los Che passed up the opportunity to open up a two-goal advantage once again.
The scare comes before Barcelona host Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.