Pressure? What Pressure! Liverpool Back on Top As They Brush Bournemouth Aside
By Marc Gingell
Liverpool 3 Bournemouth 0
Okay. It’s only Bournemouth who are pretty much cannon fodder for all Premier League sides on the road right now. Since they won at Fulham on October 27th they’ve lost eight away league games in a row conceding 23 and scoring 3. That’s after they who won six of their first 10 league games. Since then they’ve only managed four in the last 16. Their Europa League-chasing early season form has now dipped to relegation standards. They are lucky to have collected so many points early on.
Liverpool Could Have Hit 5 or 6
Liverpool fans, described by Jürgen Klopp as outstanding, played their part by creating a fantastic atmosphere to go with Liverpool’s exhilarating performance. It didn’t seem to matter to anyone inside Anfield that Liverpool had just been knocked off the top spot for the first time in two months.
Right now goal difference is playing a part with Manchester City on plus 48 and Liverpool on plus 44. Liverpool could have had five or six and they do need to bridge the gap. Remember what happened in 2012, when City took the title from Manchester United, by virtue of an eight-goal superior margin. This season could also go to the wire.
Sadio Mané – Four in Four
For the first time in his career the 26 year old Senegalese born Mané has now managed four goals in four consecutive Premier League games which puts on 12 for the season. He’s in joint 5th place for the Golden Boot. He should have 13 but he missed the target with an easy header in the second half.
But he used his head to better effect in the 24th minute. James Milner playing at right back, collected the ball on the right after his poor corner had been cleared, and produced a fine cross that Mané headed home from six yards. Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe complained about offside and he might have been right. Next season VAR will answer that question.
Georginio Wijnaldum On Target
Wijnaldum, who missed the West Ham and Crystal Palace matches recently, is proving an integral part of Liverpool’s mean machine this season. Constantly breaking up opponents play and feeding Liverpool’s ‘Fab Three.’ But in this game, in the 34th minute, he found himself in space on Bournemouth’s right thanks to a fine through ball from Andrew Robertson. With keeper Artur Boruc, advancing off his line, Wijnaldum produced an inch-perfect lob with the outside of his right foot. This gave Klopp’s men the cushion of a two-goal lead that they’d missed out in their previous two games.
Goal number three came in the 48th minute when Naby Keita, found Roberto Firmino, on the edge of Bournemouth’s box with a fine through ball. Firmino produced a delicious backheel that set Mo Salah clear on goal. He finished in fine style for his 17th league goal of the season and his 49th league goal for Liverpool. He does have 51 already having scored two for Chelsea back in 2013/14. Just before José Mourinho decided he didn’t have what it takes to be a Premier League player!
The expected floodgates surprisingly didn’t open. Mané missed his header in the 56th minute. Salah hit the bar 20 minutes later after a fine reverse ball from Firmino opened up the Bournemouth defence again. Boruc also made fine late saves from Firmino and Trent Alexander-Arnold who made a welcome reappearance in the 77th minute replacing Wijnaldum.
Liverpool can now enjoy a 10-day break before hosting Bayern Munich on February 20th in the Champions League. Four days later that will be at Old Trafford for what could be a pivotal game in both Manchester United’s and Liverpool’s seasons.
Liverpool: Alisson (7), Robertson (8), Matip (7), Van Dijk (7), Milner (7), Wijnaldum (8), Keita (7), Fabinho (8), Salah (8), Mane (8), Firmino (8)
Subs: Alexander-Arnold (7), Origi (6)
Bournemouth: Boruc (6), Cook (6), Ake (6), Rico (5), Smith (5), Lerma (6), Gosling (5), Surman (6), Ibe (6), King (5), Fraser (6)
Subs: Solanke (6), Mousset (6)
Man of the match: Georginio Wijnaldum
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