Liverpool 3 - 0 Bournemouth
Liverpool: Sadio Mané 24’, Georginio Wijnaldum 34’, Mohamed Salah 48’
Jürgen Klopp opted to make only one change from Monday night’s side who featured at West Ham with Adam Lallana dropping to the bench as Georginio Wijnaldum found his way back into the starting lineup despite suffering with illness a mere 24 hours before kick-off.
Liverpool were resplendent throughout Saturday’s Premier League match against Bournemouth, with the Cherries having only one real chance at 76 seconds in, when Ryan Fraser had his curled shot staved off by Alisson.
The irresolution and listlessness that had governed the Reds’ recent 1 – 1 draw against Leicester City on 30 January 2019, followed by the same result away to West Ham this past Monday, seemed like it had all been a bad dream as the Reds were effervescent in handing Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth their eighth successive defeat away from home this season. Liverpool were by far the stronger side overall and were raring to go from the start, with a momentum that continued to build as they applied pressure to find a way through the formidable midfield shape of the visiting Cherries, with both Salah (twice) and Mané coming up short in the early stages of the match.
The first goal of the afternoon arrived as a result of a set-piece when James Milner’s sublime right corner kick reached Sadio Mané’s waiting forehead and was nudged past Bournemouth’s keeper Artur Boruc. By scoring to make it 1 – 0 to Liverpool, Mané achieved a new personal best having scored in four consecutive Premier League matches this season.
The Reds should have had a second one on the board shortly afterward but Wijnaldum’s counter pass to Salah did not reach the back of the net, with the Egyptian King unable to finish off the opportunity as it seemed that he had been caught off guard. Gini however, did not have to wait too much longer for his 10th Liverpool goal as he found himself in the right position to receive Andy Robertson’s signature over the top ball, which he then chipped perfectly over Boruc, who was at the ready but unable to stop Gini from scoring the Reds’ second goal of the game.
Liverpool continued their non-stop, high energy pressing all the way through the first half. At one stage former Liverpool midfielder Jordon Ibe found himself being hotly pursued by Mané, Robertson and Naby Keïta - the latter looking every bit like the player we have been waiting for since the announcement of his pending arrival at Melwood – and was forced to give away possession close to the right touchline of the Cherries. Boruc made a wonder save shortly before half-time when he went all in, flinging himself across the posts to ensure Salah’s shot did not find its way into the back of the net.
Half time score: Liverpool 2 - 0 Bournemouth
Mohamed Salah had evidently been chomping at the bit to get going again during half-time as he completed a low finish for Liverpool’s third of the afternoon - his 17th PL goal of the season and also his 49th Premier League goal for Liverpool - in the third minute of the second half. Special mention must be made of Keïta’s through ball which found its way to the running backheel of Roberto Firmino prior to reaching Salah.
Salah’s goal continued his record creating ways as Saturday’s fixture was the fourth successive match in which he scored against Bournemouth – reaching a total of six goals in four games – and he also became the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals across all competitions in successive seasons since Luis Suarez in the 2013-14 season.
As Joel Matip received a yellow card at 61 minutes for a foul on Ryan Fraser, it had become abundantly clear that the Cherries were done for. After having barely gotten any traction in the game, other than Fraser’s attempt at the initial start (and a couple of chances where they simply failed to trouble the Reds by going for it) Bournemouth have now succumbed to a total of 13 defeats in their last 18 matches across all competitions.
Liverpool on the other hand, had chances aplenty from start to end, and this match could very well have ended 6 – 0. Both Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold (who came on as a 77th minute substitute for Wijnaldum) got very close to goal, with Trent being denied by Boruc, who had had an all-round, tough afternoon.
Keïta too, came very close to scoring, but saw his shot fly over the crossbar at 80 minutes. Andy Robertson saw yellow at 87’ for a foul, and Divock Origi arrived as the Reds’ second substitution at the same time. At 90’, Klopp made his final change when he sent on Daniel Sturridge as replacement for a tireless and relentless Firmino.
The Reds ensured they put a stop to the naysayers and the nonsensical “bottlers” moniker with their 14th clean sheet (the most of any side in the Premier League this season) as their win takes them to the top of the table, and three points clear of Manchester City who host Mauricio Sarri’s Chelsea at the Etihad in their 27th PL match of the season on Sunday. Should Liverpool continue today’s resurgence and go on to win all 12 of their remaining PL matches, they will finish on 101 points, whilst if City manages a similar feat and goes on to win all their remaining PL fixtures, they will finish on 98 points. Thusly, the title race remains Liverpool’s to steer.
All that’s left is for the Anfield faithful, the travelling Kop and the LFC family around the world, to maintain their unwavering support for the rest of the season, and above all, to keep believing.
Klopp has yet to lead us astray and it is evident that he definitely has zero plans to do so.
In Klopp We Trust.