By Daniel Moxon – @dmoxon_
Liverpool got back to winning ways – and the top of the Premier League – as they eased to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth in front of a loud and proud Anfield crowd.
Every man in Reds put in a strong performance to dominate the game and put the Cherries to the sword, as Sadio Mané, Georginio Wijnaldum and Mohamed Salah got the goals to put Jurgen Klopp’s side back on top of the table.
The victory was welcome after a pair of disappointing draws at the hands of Leicester City and West Ham United in the last two league games, while it was a good afternoon for individuals in the side also.
Mané’s first-half header meant that he has now scored in each of his last four Premier League appearances, Alisson recorded his league-leading 14th clean sheet of the campaign, while Salah put himself within just one goal of 50 in just 63 games – if he scores again in either of his next two, his will break Alan Shearer’s long-standing record as the quickest to that milestone.
It was a slow start for the Reds, as it took 10 minutes for Liverpool to have an effort on goal – Mohamed Salah ran down the right and had a go from distance with his left foot, only to see his effort sail into the Anfield Road End.
Minutes later, Sadio Mané played a slide-rule pass through to Roberto Firmino – who was poor at West Ham – but the Brazilian faced a tight angle and Artur Boruc smothered his poke at goal.
Liverpool took the lead through Mané in the 24th minute, the Senegalese scoring his fourth in as many games for the Reds – his forehead met with James Milner’s cross from the right, and Boruc didn’t even move before the ball had nestled in the back of his net.
Salah should have doubled the lead five minutes later when Liverpool broke and he was set through by Wijnaldum after a through ball from Firmino, but the Dutchman’s pass wasn’t ideal and the Egyptian snatched at the shot.
It would instead be Wijnaldum who would make the Reds more comfortable in the 34th minute, when he latched onto Robertson’s lofted through-ball, took a perfect first touch and used his second to delicately life the ball over the onrushing goalkeeper with calmness and precision.
Salah was unlucky not to make it three just before the break with a sweet volley from the edge of the penalty area, but Boruc watched it well and tipped it over for a corner.
But he would not be denied – he got the third just after the break after Naby Keita’s perfectly-weighted through ball found Firmino, who cheekily backheeled for the Egyptian to stick it in the bottom corner and put the result beyond all doubt.
A fourth seemed inevitable as the Reds continued to press their advantage throughout the second half – Salah was denied a fourth of the day and a 50th for his personal Premier League tally for Liverpool when he struck the bar in 75 minutes.
The Anfield faithful had further cause for celebration when they cheered Wijnaldum – who has just returned from absence for a light knock – off the pitch to be replaced by young Scouser Trent Alexander-Arnold, who has been sorely missed during his injury layoff over the last few weeks.
Roberto Firmino should have got on the scoresheet himself as Liverpool broke from a Bournemouth corner, but the Brazilian’s effort at the Kop End was tame and Boruc easily fell on the shot.
Jurgen Klopp’s side will be glad to see his side back to winning ways – the performance was also extremely promising – and they will now prepare for the visit of Bayern Munich to Anfield for a huge Champions League clash a week on Tuesday.