Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita were in fine touch as Liverpool grabbed a comfortable 3-0 win over Bournemouth at Dean Court on Saturday.
Liverpool were initially made to work hard, as Bournemouth remained disciplined at the back and restricted the visitors’ chance creation considerably. The deadlock was finally broken in the 35th minute, when Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain latched on to a fantastic long pass by Jordan Henderson, catching Aaron Ramsdale off guard.
Nine minutes later, Liverpool doubled their advantage as Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah combined beautifully before the former scored from close range. Keita then repaid the favour by sending Salah through on goal with a peach of a pass, with Salah making no mistake in finding the back of the net and round the win off.
With Leicester City yet to play, Liverpool have now stretched their lead at the top of the Premier League table to 11 points, while champions Manchester City are three further points behind after being beaten by Manchester United in the Manchester derby. The Hard Tackle now runs the rule over Jurgen Klopp’s men.
Alisson Becker: 6/10
One of the easiest outings of his career for Alisson, who barely had anything to do in the game. Did more with his feet than with his gloves. A straightforward return to action after serving a one-match ban last time out.
Joe Gomez: 7/10
Gomez started as a right-back, with Trent Alexander-Arnold being given a breather. As has been the case this season, the Englishman struggled to make much of an impact going forward, although at the back, he was hardly called into action by Ryan Fraser. Slotted in as a centre-back after Dejan Lovren picked up an injury and enjoyed an even quieter outing thereafter.
Dejan Lovren: 6/10
Like the rest of the Liverpool defence, Lovren was hardly called into action, but looked solid enough on the odd occasion when he was tested. Frustratingly, though, the Croat had to leave the field after sustaining a hamstring injury, which ought to leave Klopp concerned.
Virgil van Dijk: 7/10
A commanding performance by van Dijk, who ensured the defensive line remained disciplined all throughout and did not give the Bournemouth attack an inch. Assured as ever on the ball, linking up well with the midfielders in front of him.
Andrew Robertson: 7/10
Robertson continued to display the aggressive streak he has shown lately, which seemed to bring the best out of him this time as Arnaut Danjuma hardly got an inch to work with. Sprayed dangerous balls into the Bournemouth box, although his deliveries missed the target man a few times.
Naby Keita: 9/10
With Klopp continuing to rotate his troops, Keita got the opportunity to make his first Premier League start of the season. The Guinean looked purposeful from the get-go, pulling the strings ever so well from the middle of the park and was directly involved in two of the three goals that Liverpool scored.
Keita first opened his account for the season with a fine close range finish after exchanging a superb one-two with Mohamed Salah. Keita then set Salah up with a peach of a pass, the crowning moment of a fantastic playmaking display. Brilliant base to build on for the rest of the season.
Jordan Henderson: 8/10
Back into the side after being rested in the midweek, Henderson sat at the base of the midfield and kept things simple. But, there was one standout moment on the ball for the Liverpool captain, who set Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with a peach of a long pass. Otherwise, Henderson showcased his usual energy to harry the opposition midfielder off the ball.
James Milner: 7/10
The only midfielder to keep hold of his place from the Merseyside derby. This time, Milner took up more advanced positions on the pitch, and look to win the ball high up the pitch. Never shied away from dropping deep to help out the defence, though. Moved into the left-back slot late into the game and was barely involved thereafter.
Mohamed Salah: 9/10
Mohamed Salah vs. Bournemouth
85% Pass accuracy
4 Chances created
4/5 Shots on target
The Egyptian was very much a wing forward toward, he caused endless problems to the Bournemouth left. Tireless creator, provider, goal scorer. Still one of the best. pic.twitter.com/kf7fugfanA
— The Tactical Times (@Tactical_Times) December 7, 2019
Another player who returned to the starting lineup after being afforded a rest earlier this week, Salah looked intent to make things happen from the onset. Linked up well with Keita all through the game, which was evident in the second and third goals that Liverpool scored.
Set Keita up with a clever one-two, with the final ball being a thing of beauty. The finish for his goal was right out the top drawer, as Salah finished past Aaron Ramsdale with ease. A strong record against Bournemouth bettered further, Salah now has seven goals in five outings in Liverpool’s clashes with the Cherries.
Roberto Firmino: 7/10
Firmino was not as involved as some of his other teammates, but his performance was also vital to an extent in earning Liverpool a win. Did not have his usual control on the ball, but worked his socks off to win balls high up. Needs to get that swagger back, though, with the cutting edge missing from his game.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain: 8/10
With his return to the side, Oxlade-Chamberlain was deployed in a new role, starting out on the left flank. Just does not look as dangerous as part of the front trio, where he is not afforded as much time on the ball as he prefers. But, he took to the challenge well and capped of a decent outing with a superb goal, latching on to Henderson’s pass before scoring from close range.
Trent Alexander-Arnold: 7/10
Likely to have been rested completely, Alexander-Arnold was forced onto the pitch after Lovren’s injury-enforced substitution. Was an instant upgrade on Gomez, driving forward with pace and constantly sending in dangerous crosses. Such a crucial cog in the attacking moves.
Curtis Jones: N/A
With the win secured, Klopp sent Jones in for his Premier League debut, and the youngster impressed. Could have marked the occasion with a stellar strike, only to miss narrowly.
Xherdan Shaqiri: N/A
A late substitution, Shaqiri helped see the game out.