Bournemouth 1 - 2 Liverpool
Bournemouth: Kluivert 64’
Liverpool: Gakpo 31’, Núñez 70’
No surprise as Jürgen Klopp elects to make a raft of changes in the side to take on Bournemouth in the EFL Cup fourth round match up. The entire defense outside of Kostas Tsimikas is swapped out from the win over Nottingham Forest on Sunday, and the midfield is completely changed as well. The big surprise is Mohamed Salah getting the start in the earlier rounds of a cup match. This is just his fourth ever start in a League Cup match for Liverpool. The other surprise is Dominik Szoboszlai starting in the front line assuming this is a 4-3-3.
Weather is certainly going to be a factor here on a blustery evening on the south coast due to Storm Ciarán. Both squads see players slipping on the rain-slickened surface in the early going. Let’s hope no one gets injured out there.
It’s been a pretty back and forth match over the opening 10 minutes. Both teams have had spells of possession in the attacking third, with Liverpool unsurprisingly having the better of the play thus far. The Cherries are certainly showing they can trouble the Liverpool back line, however.
Bournemouth with the first two real opportunities in the match in quick succession. Justin Kluivert hits a shot that may have been fading wide of the post, but Caoimhín Kelleher makes the save. A minute later, Dominik Szoboszlai has the ball poked away from him at the edge of Liverpool’s box and Kelleher is forced to make a sharp save on a good shot.
Harvey Elliott has been pulling the strings for Liverpool. The young midfielder threaded a perfect ball through for Mohamed Salah, but the striker started his run early and was a good yard off. Elliott has made several other penetrating passes and seems the most likely to unlock Bournemouth.
Liverpool with a sensational move down the right wing almost sees them score the opener. Joe Gomez feeds the ball down the wing to Dominik Szoboszlai, and the Hungarian slides the ball into the box to meet the run of Harvey Elliott. The midfielder tries for aim instead of power, and his left footed strike ends up being a little too close to the goalkeeper and is saved.
Match has really opened up now, with both sides trading shots with quick attacks. Liverpool try to slow the game down and pass it around the back, but Quansah plays it back to Kelleher, who isn’t looking for it, and almost sees the ball picked off. Kelleher is just able to see it and flick the ball away.
GOAL LIVERPOOL!!! The Reds win their fifth corner of the match, and it is sent into the box by Kostas Tsimikas. The ball is headed to the top of the box where Harvey Elliott is waiting. Elliott smashes the ball towards the goal on the volley, and it is redirected with a backheel by Cody Gakpo. Ionut Radu makes a reaction save, but the ball can only be parried back to Gakpo, who smashes the ball home from close range.
Liverpool come a whisker from a second after moving the ball around in the attacking third. Joe Gomez plays a simple ball to Dominik Szoboszlai at the top of the box, and no on pressures him. Szoboszlai takes a touch and rips a low shot that had the goalkeeper beat, but flies just inches wide of the far post.
Joe Gomez has been flying forward to receive the ball in advanced areas down the right. He’s more than once had a path to goal, but has cut the ball back to play a pass instead. Just smash it on frame, lad.
Only one minute of extra time is added to the half, and nothing much happens other than everyone gets one minute more soaked from the rain. Liverpool will gladly go into the dressing room with a 1-0 lead in a fairly open first half. Both sides finished the half with four shots on goal.
Liverpool will have to be cognizant that they are playing into the teeth of the wind in the second half. The long diagonals out of the back are not going to work as well with the gale they are facing.
Caoimhín Kelleher learns that lesson quickly after an early goal kick gets blown backward in the air after swirling around for a moment. The ball ends up landing about 10 yards outside of the Liverpool 18 yard box, but thankfully Jarrell Quansah was closest and was able to claim the ball.
Bournemouth look to break forward, and the ball is fed to Antoine Semenyo down the right channel. Quansah gets back enough to force a shot from the edge of the box and it whistles harmlessly past the near post. Replays show Semenyo well offside on his run, but the assistant referee failed to recognize it despite Semenyo being on the near side. No VAR tonight either.
Bournemouth earn a corner on their attacking left and send an inswinger into the box. The wind takes hold of the ball and pushes it in towards the goal at the back post. Joe Gomez is thankfully there to head it clear off the line.
Liverpool finally get a decent spell of possession in the second half, and it almost ends with a goal. The ball is moved from left to right around the attacking half before a cross in finds the head of Mohamed Salah in the middle of the box. His header goes just wide of the far post.
Jürgen Klopp decides to go to his bench in the 60th minute, and decides to bring on Darwin Núñez, Alexis Mac Allister, and Trent Alexander Arnold. That’s just mean. Off come Curtis Jones, Wataru Endo, and Harvey Elliott.
Eep, it’s Bournemouth with two quick chances after the substitutions. Semenyo is the first with a clear slight at goal, but he slices across the ball and sends it whistling past the near post. Just a minute later, a shot from distance is caught by the wind and forces Caoimhín Kelleher to palm the ball over the bar for a corner kick.
Goal Bournemouth. Alex Scott sends the corner in, and it flies over everyone and past the frame of the far post. Justin Kluivert is there and powers a header back across goal and into the net to tie the match at 1-1. It looked like Kelleher was being held on the play, but the referee has not been interested in calling simple things like fouls all match, so why start now.
GOAL CHAOS HIMBOOOOOOOO!!!!!! Bournemouth have had the upper hand for a long stretch, but Liverpool get one back against the run of play. It’s a simple diagonal ball to Darwin Núñez, who takes a terrible touch that forces him well out wide on the left. Núñez is not perturbed, and calmly carries it back past a defender and in towards the top of the box before unleashing a rocket of a curler that clears the leaping goalkeeper and flies just under the crossbar to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead!
The game is absolutely stretched now with both teams flooding forward in transition. Liverpool get two shots from counters, one from Trent Alexander-Arnold and one from Cody Gakpo, but both are saved and held by the goalkeeper. On the other end, both Jarrell Quansah and Alexis Mac Allister make timely interventions in the Liverpool box to snuff out moves.
Klopp decides to give Dominik Szoboszlai 15 minutes of extra rest. On comes Ryan Gravenberch in his place. That is some ridiculous depth.
Klopp makes one last change in the final 10 minutes of the match. Off comes Cody Gakpo, on comes Diogo Jota.
Bournemouth are pushing hard for an equalizer. The wind again plays havoc with a cross in, and Jarrell Quansah has to be patient and wait on the ball before heading it clear while under pressure. Veteran play from the young center back.
Bournemouth earn a free kick deep into the five minutes of stoppage time about 30 yards from goal. Radu comes forward in hopes that the goalkeeper can provide another option in the box, but he ends up blocking the shot out for a Liverpool throw.
That’s the last real action as Liverpool emerge victorious!
Well, that wasn’t pretty but certainly could have been worse. Despite the ugly conditions, Liverpool persevered to advance past Bournemouth the reach the quarter finals of the EFL League Cup. The draw will take place later this evening. Liverpool will be happy to head home with their fourth consecutive win after the international break before heading to Luton Town on the weekend.