Talking Points: Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4

Liverpool got back to winning ways as they dispatched Eddie Howe’s side with ease at the Vitality Stadium. Goals from Philippe Coutinho, Dejan Lovren, Mo Salah and Roberto Firmino secured the victory that sees the Reds move back up into fourth place.

Bournemouth game-plan allows Liverpool to thrive…

In the build-up to the game Eddie Howe stated that his side had tried parking bus and defending deep but it just didn’t suit them, thus they would stick with the attacking and flowing Bournemouth way of playing. This played right into Klopp’s hands, and the game and the 4-0 scoreline proved exactly why teams park the bus against Liverpool. Bournemouth’s 4-4-2 formation was obviously an attempt to attack a seemingly vulnerable Liverpool defence, but apart from Jermain Defoe’s shot against the post in the first half, the Cherries created very little. And with no goals to back Bournemouth up, Liverpool were under little pressure to score plenty, but did so anyway as took full advantage of an open Bournemouth defence. The home side to their credit tried all game to gain a foothold, but by the end of the first half, their game-plan had already cost them any chance of getting something from the match.

Oxlade-Chamberlain performs both on and off the pitch…

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain was fully deserving of being handed a start over Sadio Mane due to the pairs’ recent form, with the Englishman having shown just why he was signed in recent weeks. Against Bournemouth he was even better and produced his best display in a Liverpool shirt so far. He set up Mo Salah’s goal, and was tenacious in tackles and pressing all evening. By playing Ox over Mane, Klopp has more balance to his side due to Ox’s defensive work-rate and tackling ability, with the ‘fab four’ perhaps lacking slightly in their tracking back. Ox was awarded man-of-the-match by Sky Sports, and if his performance on the pitch wasn’t enough, he then showed true team spirit and character to step in and protect Coutinho from unnecessarily probing questions from the interviewer about the Brazilian’s future. If Ox wasn’t a fan favourite, he certainly is now.

Attack find their feet again…

It was rather over the top the criticism that Klopp’s attack received after the games against Everton and West Brom that resulted in just one goal being scored. Yes they were nowhere near their normal performance levels and struggled to create and take meaningful chances, but in both games their opponents defended very well – West Brom in particular deserving of their point. However the criticism came and thus the game against Bournemouth was vital for the likes of Salah, Coutinho to find their form, which they certainly did. As previously mentioned Bournemouth’s set up helped, but it was an array of dazzling displays from Coutinho, Salah and Firmino that allowed their side to run riot. Coutinho scored one of his best goals in a Liverpool shirt with an individual effort – as did Salah, while Firmino flicked home a header for the fourth. The Reds could have scored plenty more, and all of this without Mane on the pitch, who will now face a battle to regain his place in the side.

Reds’ form showing exactly where they are as a team… 

The five league games after the draw against Chelsea were always going to be crucial for Klopp’s side, with all five being winnable and a good amount of points needing to be obtained. The Reds have emerged from the games with 11 points out of a possible 15, and this is a pretty accurate marker for where they are currently at. 15 points out of 15 would be title challenging form, 13 would signify an attempt at 2nd and 3rd, while 11 shows that Liverpool will certainly be challenging for a spot in the top four all season, but there are still changes and improvements that need to be made if they are to be challenging for titles again. The draws against Everton and West Brom highlight that a quality centre-back is a must in January and that central midfield is still a slight issue when it comes to unlocking defences and creativity. Liverpool are heading in the right direction though, and even the defence is beginning to keep clean sheets – 13 in the last 24 league games being the more than anyone. The game against Arsenal on Friday will be a big test, but is another chance to keep pushing forwards in the race for top four.





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