For a long period of the match, it seemed that Zinedine Zidane’s side could drop six points off their neighbours’ pace before they meet at the weekend, but Vinicius Junior popped up to score after coming off the bench.
Sociedad, meanwhile, missed an opportunity to close in on the top four and are six points behind Sevilla.
Madrid can get to within striking distance if they win on Sunday, but Atleti still have a game in hand over Los Blancos.
On Sunday, Atletico collected a valuable three points as Joao Felix came off the bench to secure a vital 2-0 vital against Villarreal at El Madrigal.
Atleti produced a solid defensive display and took the lead in the first half when defender Alfonso Pedraza put past his own goalkeeper, and then the Portuguese emerged to smash into the bottom corner and restore the five-point advantage over Barcelona.
Barcelona had moved to within two points of the top spot in La Liga on Saturday after a surprisingly comfortable 2-0 victory over Sevilla.
Ronald Koeman’s side went into the clash at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium under some significant pressure, following a rather abject league campaign to date and the assumption by most Spanish football fans that Julen Lopetegui’s side would get the better of the Catalan giants.
On top of that, Sevilla had gone unbeaten in their last 12 games in La Liga and were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak that had taken them up to fourth in the Spanish top flight table.
As such, it came as something of a surprise when Koeman shuffled his pack and started with a back three, which ultimately led to Barcelona dominating the match.
Lionel Messi struck after just 29 minutes, when he set up Ousmane Dembele to fire the ball into the back of the net for the opening goal and then he struck again just five minutes before full time when he latched onto a rebound to rifle the ball by the goalkeeper.
At the foot of the table, 10 points continue to separate the entire bottom half of the table as it remains wholly unclear who is set for the drop.
LA LIGA STATISTICS: