Liverpool were at their imperious best as they returned to winning ways with an emphatic 4-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday
Liverpool came into the game after dropping points in each of their last two games, and looked hungry right from the get go. Bournemouth, on the other hand, looked like the visiting side instead of one that was in the comfort of its home as the Reds put their foot on the pedal.
Indeed, the visitors went on to grab the lead twenty minutes into the game as Philippe Coutinho struck a wonderful individual goal, after dancing past several Bournemouth defenders. The lead was doubled just six minutes later as Dejan Lovren headed the ball in following some fine work by Roberto Firmino.
Bournemouth did come close to finding the back of the net too, but Jermain Defoe failed to pull a goal back after only striking the post. Five minutes later, Liverpool struck again, with Mohamed Salah twisting and turning to score his 20th goal of the season.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 17, 2017
Midway through the second half the win was rounded off as Firmino flicked home Coutinho’s cross, although he was offside. Liverpool though, have now stretched their unbeaten run to twelve games to return to the top four, and The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Simon Mignolet: 7/10
Mignolet did not have much glove work to do on the night, with Liverpool dominating the proceedings. He did make one strong save to deny Jermain Defoe in the second half, but apart from having his post struck by the Englishman, he had more work to do with his feet than with his hands.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
The right-back rotation continued again on Sunday, with Gomez starting this time, and he was solid once again. The young defender showed no signs on the knock that he has been recovering from, and barely had any trouble dealing with either Marc Pugh or Ryan Fraser.
In addition to his defensive soundness, the Englishman seems to be growing into his role as a right-back, which is particularly evident on his forward forays, with his linkup with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain as well as the runs down the right flank.
Dejan Lovren: 8/10
A diving header from Dejan Lovren! pic.twitter.com/kI6yOj48N4
— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) December 17, 2017
The nightmares of the Spurs defeat seem to be a thing of the past as Lovren enjoyed yet another solid outing. Usually nervy against diminutive forwards, the Croat was composed against the dangerous Defoe and also grabbed a goal in the game, diving bravely to turn in Roberto Firmino’s smart cut-back.
Ragnar Klavan: 7/10
A quiet night for the Estonian, who had very little defending to do than what he is usually accustomed to. Klavan still had five clearances, two interceptions and 75 passes to make on the night, and he was largely efficient as he continues to feature, and feature with impact, in the absence of Joel Matip.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
The young Scotsman has barely put a foot wrong since joining Liverpool in the summer and it’s a wonder just why he hasn’t featured more this season. On Sunday, Robertson made more impact in the final third, enabling his side to maintain their stranglehold on the game, while contributing to Coutinho’s goal with his overlapping run.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 8.5/10
Sunday’s game will be known as the one in which Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain finally showed just what he is capable of, and why he could be an asset in midfield for Klopp. While he did not have the goals or any assists to show for his efforts, the player quietly went about his job.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain unfortunate not to mark a very dynamic performance with a goal today. Made the most key passes (4) together with Phil Coutinho and was #LFC‘s top tackler (3).
Three interceptions, 11 possession gains too. pic.twitter.com/84hiNY5pTe
— Melissa Reddy (@MelissaReddy_) December 17, 2017
A closer look would show that the Englishman provided the most key passes in the game than anyone else, while creating the most chances too. Onward and upward for the former Arsenal man. Finally, he endeared himself to Liverpool fans by stepping in when Coutinho was asked a question about his future in a post-match interview.
Jordan Henderson: 7/10
The Liverpool captain was quietly efficient on the night, holding the fort in the middle of the park and cutting off Bournemouth plays right in their tracks. And with his side dominating the game, he didn’t have to stay put in the middle of the park more often than not, often charging forward to add to the numbers.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 7/10
Wijnaldum was perhaps the least involved player in the game, staying deep for the most part as the main event took place in and around the Bournemouth box. Nevertheless, it was still job well done by the Dutchman, with Bournemouth attackers rarely finding their way past him.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 17, 2017
The purple patch of form continued for Salah, who just can’t stop scoring at the moment. On Sunday, he scored his 20th goal of the season – the first Liverpool player to do so since the 2013-14 season – and what a goal it was.
While all three defenders around him had no answer for his twists and tricks, Charlie Daniels in particular will have nightmares after the treatment that was meted out to him by the smiling assassin.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
The lynchpin in the Liverpool attack, Firmino was at it once again on Sunday. As ever, the Brazilian ran and ran, creating space for his teammates while getting into dangerous scoring positions. He also had a goal deserving of the work that he put in, although he was clearly offside.
Roberto Firmino already has more goals at Liverpool this season than he’s scored in any other season, with 13 strikes to his name so far. 🇧🇷👏 pic.twitter.com/iZrstBnmT2
— Anfield HQ (@AnfieldHQ) December 18, 2017
But, the best bit about his performance on the night – one that showed his tenacious nature – was his persistence to go after a ball headed over the line to create an assist for Lovren’s goal. What an asset he is for his side.
Philippe Coutinho: 9/10
The little magician continued dazzling on the field even as questions grow about his Liverpool future. He beautifully curled a free-kick in the early stages of the match, which could only strike the post, but was rewarded for his efforts by scoring a sublime solo goal.
Coutinho also created the fourth goal with a wonderful cross as he continues pulling the strings from his midfield role. Fans would now be hoping for him to remain at Anfield as the winter transfer window draws closer.
Coutinho last 14 games 🔥
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 18, 2017
Adam Lallana: 6/10
Making only his second appearance of the season, Lallana was understandably off the pace to begin with. But, he quickly adjusted and got involved in his side’s forward forays. An important player now that he’s finally back.
Dominic Solanke: 6/10
The young striker was lively in his cameo, and even came close to scoring that elusive maiden goal for the Reds. The goal will come sooner rather than later, but his performances have certainly given enough cause for optimism.
Danny Ings: N/A
Another player who has struggled a lot with injuries, Ings got some crucial first-team minutes under his belt. He, too, could have got in on the act had he not pulled a shot just wide after being found by Lallana.