Jürgen Klopp’s reds ran rampant over Bournemouth, keeping yet another clean sheet and scoring four times, Mo Salah getting three of them. James Milner also made his 500th Premier League appearance, joining the likes of Gerrard, Lampard and Giggs in a list of greats (and Gareth Barry), although, this time in right-back. A lively start from Liverpool saw Guinean midfielder Naby Keïta produce what we know he can, gliding past the Bournemouth midfield like they’re ghosts, with two nutmegs included. It really seemed to have started clicking for the Reds at the start of the game, with Fabinho dynamically dropping between Matip and van Dijk, Robertson, well, just being Andy Robbo, and Shaqiri spraying passes left right and centre. Salah’s movement was promising, with his runs in behind the host’s defence being pre-empted by the midfield of Liverpool, but the finish wasn’t there on a few occasions.Embed from Getty Images
A deliberate handball from ex-Chelsea defender Nathan Ake gave Liverpool a free-kick in what can only be described as ‘Xherdan Shaqiri territory’, but the Swiss man came out disappointed, with it being blocked by the wall, knowing that if it had the extra inch of lift, Begovic was beaten. The cards seemed to be racking up for Bournemouth, with Lerma catching Fabinho with a late boot, making that the second in 3 minutes. Nevertheless, the physicality didn’t phase Jürgen’s men, with the pressure on the back-line relentless from the front three and midfield. Mo’s runs in between the lines didn’t stop, and a few loose balls later, the first goal came!
A seventh opening goal for Mo this season, alas being arguably offside in the final phase of play, Salah lays it off for Firmino, who rockets a strike at Begović from far out on his week foot, and the Bosnian keeper doesn’t expect it, and parries the ball straight to the feet of the Egyptian, with reactions quicker and feet trickier than the Bournemouth defenders, he gets to it first, rifling it home to open the scoring. Ice cold in celebration, he stops and stares, this scoring thing is becoming quite easy for Mo, isn’t it? 25 minutes in. Liverpool 1-0 BournemouthEmbed from Getty Images
Bournemouth seemed to be getting into the game before the opener, but resolute as ever, the Virgil van Dijk powered defence were determined to keep that ball out of Alisson’s net. The Cherries attempted to continue their momentum even after being put 1-0 down, but Stanislas is eventually dispossessed out on the left flank and Liverpool, once again, force Bournemouth to 11 men behind the ball. 70% of the possession 25 minutes in really told the story of the game at that point, with the few Cherries’ attacks failing to be effective.
Crosses and potshots for Bournemouth earned them corner after corner, Eddie Howe’s overload on the front-post tactic resulted in van Dijk surrounded by multiple men, but the Dutchman stayed strong, sustaining knock after knock but staying strong throughout. A lack of pressing on players a few yards outside of the box became quite the problem after a while, with players like Brooks and Surman given time to pick the right pass and execute it well.
Commitment cannot be faulted at this point in the game from the Cherries, still peppering Alisson’s goal with attempts, that were, overall, dealt with well, but a bit of communication was lacking, resulting in unnecessary clearances and mistakes. One man’s commitment is another man’s aggression, and Jefferson Lerma epitomises that, with dangerous play foreshadowing a potential red card coming his way.
Alisson is unbelievable, on the verge of half-time, the Brazilian sees a ball floating into an isolated Joshua King, who has lost his marker in the 18-yard-box. Realising the momentum of the jump will take him out of the box and result in a free-kick, he rises like a fish from the water and clears the danger with his head, inadvertently taking out King in the process. It’s moves like that which will define Alisson Becker as the best keeper in the league. Halftime whistle blows, and Liverpool return to the dressing room with a lead they will look to expand on.Embed from Getty Images
Both sides unchanged after the break, Liverpool intend on retaining that 70%+ possession and Bournemouth will want to restore the scores to an equilibrium, Mo Salah, on the other hand, has a different plan for the Cherries, Firmino realises instantly that Salah was through on a 1 on 1 with Ake, despite attempts to clip his ankles and bring him down from the other Bournemouth players, he powers through, beats the Dutch defender, doubling his and Liverpool’s goal tally into the bottom right corner. 48 minutes, Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth.
Penalty claims from the Bournemouth fans and players alike are waved away by the referee Lee Mason, who has been accurate with most decisions so far. A few players going down due to injury for the home side, but return to their feet promptly, even Cook, who appears to be struggling to continue on the field especially when having to keep up with the pace of Liverpool.
Virgil van Dijk’s chant rings out across the Vitality Stadium whilst the Reds knock the ball around the host’s defence like a training session, but the dynamic defence of Bournemouth step up to play Salah offside, the finish left much to be desired either way though.Embed from Getty Images
65 minutes in, a double change for Liverpool comes, with the worries of Liverpool fans over the state of Sadio Mané being relaxed just a little, with him replacing Shaqiri, whilst the Englishman who is starved for game time, Adam Lallana, replaces the again lively Naby Keïta. Lallana is straight into the action, helping out defensively in the corner, a corner is won but nothing comes of it, and Liverpool can counter.
Won in the air by Firmino, the Brazilian lays off Mo Salah, who switches it over to Robertson’s flank, a one-two between Robertson and Fabinho results in a low cross to none other than Sadio Mane, Cook manages to get there before, but can only drive it into his own net! Just two minutes into his reintroduction, the Senegalese forward forces an own goal, and would have nestled it away himself if it weren’t for the eagerness of the Cherries’ centre-half. 68 minutes, Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth.Embed from Getty Images
“It’s a phenomenon” is belted at the home fans by Kopites all around, and a Fabinho foul soon after kick-off gives Bournemouth a free kick in a potentially promising position, but, as usual, Alisson plucks it out of the top corner, does this guy know how to concede? Cleared long for round two by the hosts, Salah perhaps hesitates a second too long on the edge of the box, won back by the home side, they launch forward, but the through ball clips the feet of the running Josh King, and is wildly mishit. The spectacular organisation of the Liverpool backline once again rules Lys Mousset offside, despite hammering in the ball from close range.
Jurgen’s men don’t show any signs of putting the handbrake on, constantly looking to play forward and extend the lead, and just that happens! Mo Salah goes hattrick hunting, pouncing on a mistake from Cook, beats Begovic once, cuts back and beats Begovic twice, then slots it into the only gap in the goalmouth in between the men on the line. The coolest man on the south-coast for today is Mohamed Salah. 77 minutes, Liverpool 4-0 Bournemouth.Embed from Getty Images
Despite not needing to take a conservative approach with the four-goal lead, Roberto Firmino makes way for captain Jordan Henderson, whose link-up play today was superb, providing an assist during his time on the field. Alisson is instantly threatened after the goal from Mo with a strike from a long way out from Daniels, but it’s always rising and is well into the stands.
82 minutes in and Bournemouth make a change, with Junior Stanislas being replaced by Tyrone Mings, and Daniels similarly replaced by Diego Rico, but you have to see these as changes to rest their old player’s legs after chasing this rampant Liverpool side as opposed to attempts of mounting a comeback. Tempo slowed, Liverpool couldn’t look more comfortable, well, except Lallana, who is in severe discomfort due to an incident involving teeth to his head, temporarily with 10 men, Lallana is introduced, blood cleared up, head plastered and no number of the back of his new shirt.Embed from Getty Images
A free kick won in the central third after a silly foul that Surman is lucky to get away with un-booked is taken by Wijnaldum, subsequently, the referee ends the Cherries suffering after the allocated 5 minutes of added time with the whistle signalling full-time. A Mo Salah hat-trick ensured the three points and pressure on Manchester City to win their fixture vs. Chelsea later today without some key players.