Bournemouth 0 - Liverpool 4
Liverpool: 25’ Salah, 48’ Salah, 68’ Cook (OG), 77’ Salah
Liverpool’s best start ever continues as they rout Bournemouth 4-0 on Saturday afternoon thanks to a dominate performance from Mo Salah. For
a few hoursthe next week, at least, Liverpool sit top of the league and remain undefeated.
It was always going to be a bit of a weird lineup, wasn’t it? With injury concerns and fixture congestion, Jurgen Klopp had some big decisions to make when choosing his starting XI. The biggest selection choice he had to make was at right back, considering Joe Gomez’s injury on Wednesday and Trent Alexander-Arnold having played a lot of football recently. Instead of playing Fabinho or Nathaniel Clyne, conservative and natural picks at full back, Klopp slotted in James Milner at the spot. Milner was a constant outlet on the wing and defended Bournemouth’s left side well. Is there any position Milner can’t play? Instead of opting for a more familiar 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1, Klopp chose to lineup the Reds in a 4-4-2, playing Firmino and Salah as the forwards.
Liverpool exuded their dominance early and often in this one. The scoring started in the 25th minute when Salah slotted home a goal after he collected a rebound from a Roberto Firmino shot. He was offside, to be sure, but given the amount of times assistant referee errors have gone against Liverpool this season, I’m not so sure he’d be too bothered. It was a very mature and patient first half performance, with the Reds being the much better side entering the half with the 1-0 lead. Some respect should be paid to Bournemouth, who under Eddie Howe, play the game the right way.
Liverpool came alive in the second half after just three minutes when Mo Salah scored a classic Salah goal. Salah picked up the ball from 50 yards out and dribbled past 3 Bournemouth defenders and calmly put the ball to the keepers left, well out of reach. The Reds could’ve let off the gas but they continued to put the pressure on the Cherries. Liverpool’s third came from a Steve Cook own goal. The brilliance of the goal came from a cross from Andy Robertson that was so good the defender deflected it into his own goal. Had the defender not gotten to the ball, Sadio Mane surely would’ve scored.
Salah completed his hat trick in the 77th minute with his best goal on the day and probably his best goal of the season. All of those “One Season Wonder!” takes were made to look silly today. The Egyptian found himself through on goal with a perfectly weighted ball in behind the defense. Having beaten Bournemouth’s backline with ease, Salah then decided to toy with Asmir Begovic not once, but twice, before putting it in the bottom corner.
Salah was clearly the best player on the pitch, but Liverpool had great performances throughout the lineup. Alisson didn’t have to do much in terms of saves, but he did have to make some key contributions at important times. Milner had mishit a pass poorly and Alisson had to come off his line to head the ball away. Your imagination doesn’t have to get too wild to imagine former Liverpool goalkeepers conceding a penalty in that situation. Fabinho had another good outing that will boost his confidence. Naby Keita, playing slightly out of position on the left of the midfield, was a constant threat on the ball and held possession well. Possibly only Manchester City have a better 4th choice center back than Joel Matip. Matip dealt well with what little threat Bournemouth had to offer and was surprisingly good in possession. And, as mentioned above, James Milner showed he can play anywhere on the pitch.
Liverpool will look to secure their place in the knockout rounds of the Champions League on Tuesday when they take on Napoli at Anfield. They need to win by 1-0, or any other scoreline in which they win by 2 or more goals, to advance.
Up the Best Start Ever Reds.