Liverpool silenced all talks of their faltering title challenge, as they cruised to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth to move back to the top of the Premier League.
Liverpool opened up a three-point lead over Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table, as they beat Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth 3-0 at Anfield on Saturday afternoon.
Having dropped points against Leicester City and West Ham United, the Reds were under intense pressure to return to winning ways. And while Ryan Fraser forced Alisson into a save very early in the game, it was Liverpool who broke the deadlock, with Sadio Mane heading past Artur Boruc in the 24th minute.
After a couple of decent chances went begging, Georginio Wijnaldum doubled the Reds’ lead ten minutes later with a brilliantly chipped effort. Mohamed Salah almost made it three on the verge of half-time, but was denied by Boruc. However, the Cherries’ keeper could do nothing about the Egyptian’s curled effort three minutes into the second half.
Mane and Naby Keita missed narrowly, while Salah saw an effort bounce off the crossbar as Liverpool looked to add to their three-goal lead. Lys Mousset came close to pulling one back for the Cherries, but was denied by Alisson as Jurgen Klopp’s men romped home to a comfortable victory.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 9, 2019
The result meant Liverpool jumped back to the summit of the Premier League standings, although that could be temporary, with Manchester City set to face Chelsea on Sunday evening. Here’s how Jurgen Klopp’s men fared on the day against Howe’s side.
Alisson Becker: 7/10
Called into action very early in the game, Alisson was up to the task, denying Ryan Fraser’s effort. Had very little to do in terms of making saves from thereon, until he had to stop Lys Mousset’s driven shot late in the second period. A comfortable outing and a clean sheet to go along with it for the Brazilian.
James Milner: 8/10
Retained at right-back despite the return to fitness of Trent Alexander-Arnold, the veteran Milner made a very good impression against the Cherries. Always providing an outlet with his overlapping runs on the right-hand side especially in the first half. The Englishman set Mane up for the opener with a peach of a cross.
Joel Matip: 7.5/10
Saturday’s performance was easily one of Matip’s best display this season. Remained alert and switched on to whatever threat Bournemouth conjured up and was on hand to make a couple of key interventions. Used the ball really well when in possession, with his long-range pass to release Firmino for a chance being a particular highlight. Booked.
Virgil van Dijk: 7.5/10
A stroll through the park for the Dutchman as he bossed the aerial battles against Bournemouth, while snuffing out any danger that they did pose on the counter. Spread play with his trademark cross-field passes on a number of occasions. All in all, a comfortable day in the office for Liverpool’s defensive mainstay leading to a first clean sheet in four matches.
Andrew Robertson: 8/10
Having looked a bit out of form in recent games, the Scotsman stepped up brilliantly against the Cherries on Saturday. Was always a threat with his forward forays down the left flank and set Wijnaldum up for the second goal with the perfectly chipped through ball. Created a number of chances and was equally impressive in the defensive side of things.
Georginio Wijnaldum: 9/10
Back into the starting XI, having made a swift recovery from his injury, the Dutchman was the star of the show for Liverpool on Saturday. Doubled Liverpool’s lead in the first period with a delightful chipped effort. A force to be reckoned with, with the energy and drive he brought from the middle of the park, Wijnaldum was taken off to a rousing ovation his performance thoroughly deserved.
The Brazilian, starting in the No. 6 role for Liverpool, controlled the game from the centre of the park beautifully. Strong going into tackles, alert to threat and equally important in starting out attacks from the deep. Looks so comfortable playing in a three-man midfield.
Naby Keita: 8/10
After a string of poor performances, the Guinean midfield powerhouse showed signs of improvement with a purposeful display against Bournemouth. Put in the hard yards defensively and was always on the prowl to get things going in the attacking third. Started off the move for the third goal with a brilliant pass to Firmino. An encouraging, all-round display from the summer signing.
Mohamed Salah: 8/10
Fired an effort over the bar early on and scuffed another effort, before being denied by Boruc in the first period. Took his chance brilliantly early in the second half, coolly slotting past the goalkeeper to make it 3-0. Could have had another but was denied by the crossbar. A sharp and energetic display starting on the right flank from Salah.
Roberto Firmino: 8/10
After a frustrating outing against West Ham United, the Brazilian showed why he is such an integral part of this Liverpool setup. His movement and link-up play in the final third caused all sorts of problems to the Bournemouth defence and his back-heel assist for Salah’s goal was a thing of beauty. Should have scored late on, but could only muster up a meek effort.
Sadio Mane: 8/10
Mane scored for the fourth consecutive game, when he powered a headed effort past Boruc in the first half to hand Liverpool an important lead, albeit there being a hint of suspicion of offside. Was a lively presence on the left-hand side with his pace and movement proving hard for the Cherries’ defence to deal with.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: N/A
Came on for Wijnaldum in the 77th minute, to mark his return from injury. Nearly scored a fourth for Liverpool.
Divock Origi: N/A
Replaced Mane with less than five minutes left on the clock.
Daniel Sturridge: N/A
Stoppage time substitute for Firmino.