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Bournemouth 1, Liverpool 3: Wins Aren't Always Easy

Liverpool scored three impressive goals to advance to the Capitol One Cup semi-final, but Championship side Bournemouth certainly didn't make it an easy win zdespite the one-sided scoreline.

Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

It wasn't always as smooth or pretty or easy as the scoreline would indicate, but Liverpool were able to walk out of Bournemouth with a 3-1 win and trip to the Capitol One/League/Milk Cup semi-final, thanks to Lazar Markovic's first Liverpool goal and a brace from Raheem Sterling.

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

The rather experimental formation that Brendan Rodgers threw out on to the pitch got off to a bit of a rough start, with Bournemouth twice exploiting their defensive weaknesses in wide areas to get a couple of strong early chances. A fortunate block and poor finishing let the Championship side down, though, and Liverpool were finally able to take a breath and start controlling the ball.

And control it they did. Bournemouth certainly threatened most of the times that they managed to win the ball back, but that wasn't often. Liverpool weren't able to create a ton of quality chances early on, with the hosts playing an organized defense that didn't leave the Reds much space in front of goal, but with the way they controlled the match, it felt like it was just a matter of time before Liverpool scored.

It took some, and it didn't exactly seem to go according to plan, but a goal did finally come. Lazar Markovic, operating in theory as the left wing back, lobbed in a cross that looked like it started to carry too far past the far post. Jordan Henderson was tracking the cross, though, and was able to get to the ball and get his head to it before it went out for a goal kick. The header wasn't exactly aimed, but Henderson was still able to flick it in front of goal, where Raheem Sterling managed to slip between two defenders and nod it in to put Liverpool ahead.

That seemed to kick-start Liverpool a little bit, as they started playing more direct and aggressively after getting the lead. That lead to Coutinho getting behind Bournemouth's defense and ripping off an almost-unchallenged shot. Artur Boruc has able to push the shot away, but no Bournemouth defender was able to stop the ball from getting to Markovic, who ripped a half-volley off the rebound from the top of the box and past Boruc to put Liverpool up by two goals.

For some reason, though, Liverpool backed off after that, returning to lateral passing and not making penetrating runs like they did during that spell between the goals. That allowed Bournemouth to find their way back in to the match, and they created a couple more chances that were extremely nervy thanks to poor goalkeeping from Brad Jones. Liverpool were able to do just enough to keep things at bay, though, and got to halftime with their lead intact.

Not long after the restart, Sterling went on a wonderful mazy run to latch on to a note-perfect throughball from Lallana and fired past a helpless Boruc to give Liverpool a three goal lead. After that, though, things kinda went downhill for the Reds.

Dan Gosling burst in to the box and left Lucas Leiva looking confused to latch on to the end of a cross from Matt Ritchie and fired in. Brad Jones did... well, he didn't do anything useful. What looked like a relatively straightforward shot to save turned in to a flailing failure, and Bournemouth was back in the match. There were a lot of stressful moments as Liverpool failed to make the most of what chances they generated, and Bournemouth finally figured out that Liverpool were vulnerable to runs from wide areas.

Gosling banged one shot off the post and had another just skim over the bar, Ritchie came close twice, substitute Ryan Fraser caused considerable headache, and no Liverpool fan really enjoyed the finish of the match. Still, though, Liverpool got the job done without a Crystal Palace-style meltdown and are through to the semi-final of the League Cup.

Strong performances from Markovic and Sterling, and positive appearances from the bench for Mamadou Sakho and Emre Can add some very nice icing to the cake, and on a whole it was a positive performance despite the nervy moments. Hopefully this serves as something for Liverpool to build on, and launches a good run of play through the rest of the holiday period.

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