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Bournemouth 1, Liverpool 3: First Thoughts

An unorthodox lineup led to possession and possession led to goals, and thanks to that Liverpool are now on to the semi-finals of the League Cup with their season looking just a little bit brighter.

Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Bournemouth 1 Gosling 57'
Liverpool 3 Sterling 20', Markovic 27', Sterling 51'

  • Depending on who you asked, a starting XI with three centre halves, five midfielders, and two wingers was either bold and daring or it was foolish and stubborn. Either way, with two fullbacks and two conventional strikers on the bench—not to mention two players many fans had wanted to see given a chance in Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can—there was a lot riding on Brendan Rodgers' unconventional selection.

  • It was an open start, perhaps not surprising given Liverpool's lineup and Bournemouth's attacking tendencies. And the first great chance fell to the hosts, as the dangerous Callum Wilson nutmegged Skrtel, stepped around Lovren, but then fired just wide of the post.

  • Liverpool, though, soon settled down and did the one thing a lineup full of midfielders was meant to—keep hold of the ball and keep hold of the ball and keep hold of the ball. They pressed Bournemouth deep and probed, holding possession for minutes on end. Eventually a gap appeared. Markovic switched play to Henderson who headed across for Sterling. Goal. A few minutes later it was Markovic finishing off another long move for Liverpool's second.

  • The second half started relatively open as the first had, with Liverpool at times sloppy on the ball. Only this time it was the visitors who had the first good chance—and Sterling cooly slotted it home. Unfortunately, a few minutes later, Brad Jones was at fault as Bournemouth clawed one back and for a time looked to make things interesting.

  • The game remained worryingly open after the goals, and with Bournemouth regularly exploiting the wings it seemed a situation crying out for a fullback or two and a switch to a more conventional formation. The change didn't come, and that made for something of a nervy finish for Liverpool despite their two goal cushion—and had Bournemouth been a more clinical side the end result might have been different.

  • Bournemouth weren't clinical, though, and so in the end Liverpool got their victory, one that sees them heading to the semi-finals of the League Cup. A silver lining after a few very, very bad weeks.

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We'll be back shortly to take an in-depth look at everything that happened in today's game with the full recap. Until then, let us know your take on the ups and downs of the match in the comments, and if you haven't already, join the community on the Liverpool Offside, where we'll have full coverage and lively in-game discussion for every match this season.

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