Liverpool continued their impressive run of results by sweeping aside Bournemouth 4-0 at the Vitality on a very wet and windy Saturday afternoon. The Reds climb to the top of the table after Stamford Bridge witnessed Chelsea defeat Manchester City.
Dominant Reds shine once more
Total domination is the only way to describe the match which kicked off just after midday. Bournemouth barely touched the ball in the opening 20 minutes, with the visitors seeing over 70% possession, although they didn’t create much trouble for the Cherries. The Reds were on the front foot throughout, their passing and movement sensational. Easily winning the ball back to holding possession to creating chances, Liverpool overwhelmed Bournemouth in each third of the pitch and the final result, 0-4, isn’t undeserved at all.
To be clear here, it wasn’t that Bournemouth were bad, yes they were without Callum Wilson and a full XI, but Liverpool were just too good and Bournemouth played them on a day where they were at the top of their game, for a full 90 minutes. Two years ago, Liverpool led at the Vitality 0-2 before being beaten 4-3 in a chaotic match. Those demons have now been put to rest and Jurgen Klopp’s side are looking very good at this stage of the season.
Salah back with a bang
Mo Salah scored his 10th, 11thand 12thgoals as he led the line for the visitors and spearheaded the attacking front three. It was four shots, three on target and three left-footed goals. The Egyptian also became the third fastest player to reach 40 Premier League goals in Premier League history. He’s managed to reach this milestone in just 52 games, eight games faster than Fernando Torres.
It was the 25thminute which saw Liverpool break the deadlock and earn the Egyptian his 40th, the goal, however, should have been ruled out for offside. There was excellent linkup play between Roberto Firmino and Salah before the Brazilian unleashed a half-volleyed effort at goal, with his weaker foot, which swerved as Asmir Begovic made the save. The Egyptian was first to react, leaning just over the edge of the Bournemouth offside trap to finish the move.
The home defenders were not happy, and Salah was also unsure, but he was left celebrating when the flag didn’t go up. Very unfortunate for the Cherries as Begovic made the save and the defence did their bit as well, only to be let down by the linesman on the near side. The halftime whistle blew with just the single goal separating the teams, but it was more than that for Eddie Howe as his men were clearly second best throughout the first half.
Unfortunately for the Cherries, it didn’t matter what was said at halftime as Liverpool went two to the good by the 48thminute. Steve Cook with the mistake which Firmino capitalised on, playing in Salah for a one on one with Nathan Ake.
The Egyptian had it all to do and attacked the box, shifting the ball on to his favoured foot and finding the far corner. It wasn’t easy, the Liverpool forward was caught on his heel on the way through with a trailing Cook trying to make up for his mistake, but Salah was sensational in staying on his feet where most may have gone down, and he got his reward with his 11thgoal of the season. From here, Liverpool’s play completely changed; they were playing with confidence, purpose and without fear.
It was another Steve Cook mistake and the third goal for Liverpool on the 67thminute, an excellent move saw the ball come to Andy Robertson on the left wing, he whipped it in with real pace and Cook, who had his back to goal, diverted the ball at his own goal and Begovic was left rooted to the spot.
The night didn’t get easier for Cook as he was involved again for the fourth and final goal. Lallana clipped a ball forward for Salah to chase and he did just that. He matched Cook’s strength and found himself in in goal, beat Begovic not once but twice before slotting it into the net while Ake and Cook were standing on the goal line doing their best to prevent the inevitable. That was the Egyptian’s second hat-trick in a Liverpool kit, but it was the way he played in the second half which will leave Liverpool fans drooling. It was the flicks, tricks, attacking intent and pace which showed the Salah of last season and he duly deserved his man of the match award and the ball at the end.
No Wilson no party
The absence of Callum Wilson, who was ruled out with a hamstring injury, evidently hurt the Cherries. There were not many people in the know, other than Jamie Redknapp on Soccer AM, and it showed throughout the match that Bournemouth were severely lacking. Josh King was left on his own up top where usually he’d have his partner in crime battling it out at the Vitality. The England striker has been involved in 13 goals this season, scoring eight and assisting five, and the Cherries sorely missed this attacking impetus against Liverpool.
Bournemouth fall to eighth after such a bright start to the season. Eddie Howe won’t be disappointed though as he has built his side up to be feared and no one will take the Cherries for granted for the remainder of the campaign.
Bournemouth travel to Wolves next weekend while Liverpool have an enormous home clash against Napoli on Tuesday night where a 1-0 win or a win by two or more goals will see them progress into the latter stages of the competition. On to the weekend, Liverpool welcome Man Utd to Anfield in a grudge match. The schedule is getting tougher and tougher for the Reds and this is the time that will show how much they have improved as a top Premier League side.