When Callum Wilson poked an opener home at the Kop End, you could feel social media burn with talk of Liverpool ‘bottling it’ once again. The reality was that Liverpool were well in charge of this fixture, and the goal should never have stood — Wilson had clearly fouled Joe Gomez in the direct lead-up.
As a side note, I have always been a staunch supporter of VAR, but the Premier League’s current application of it is ridiculous. In UEFA competition, where there is less of an emphasis on ‘clear and obvious’, play would most definitely — and correctly — have been brought back for a Liverpool free-kick. But let’s move on.
Liverpool didn’t bottle anything, and continued to dominate the game. Sadio Mané seized on a poor touch, and although his pass left Mo Salah with a lot to do, the Egyptian finished expertly. Cut forward eight minutes and a gaping hole opened up in the Bournemouth central defence. This time it was the Senegalese who delivered.
Liverpool dropped a gear in the second half, but still could argue that the 2-1 final scoreline flattered Bournemouth, whose one real chance after the interval was cleared off the line by James Milner. Onto Atlético on Wednesday.
Here are your ratings:
Adri 6 – A first-half shot almost took a Willian-esque route into the Liverpool net, but luckily drifted for a corner. A couple of decent saves, but not overly involved.
Trent 7 – A few brilliant moments, but did occasionally get caught out of position, and saw one corner go straight out for a goal-kick.
JoGo 7.5 – Was clearly fouled for the Bournemouth goal and played with an anger about him for the rest of the 90 minutes. Good performance. You wonder if Troy Deeney would have caused Gomez as much trouble as he did Dejan Lovren… anyway, it’s gone. Stop it, Don.
Big Virg 7.5 – Calm as you like, and so on.
Milly 6.5 – Can no longer accelerate up and down the left wing like Robbo, but the stand-in skipper’s work-rate was excellent as ever, as seen with his recovery goal line clearance from Ryan Fraser’s lob.
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Fabs 6 – Something is off. I hope it’s still injury recovery, but Fabinho is not occupying the right areas in quite the way he was at the start of the season.
Gini 7 – A couple of vintage Gini moments, but did quieten in the middle third of the game.
Ox 7- Constantly looked for a positive influence on the game, with phenomenal desire and determination. No higher than a seven for me, though, due to a couple of hospital passes.
Mo 8 – Seemed to be playing a slightly deeper role on his 100th appearance for Liverpool in the Premier League. Took his goal brilliantly and showcased some top level strength in tussles. Pips Mané for man of the match by virtue of his centenary.
Bobby 6.5 – Link-up play was good as ever, and brilliantly flashed a ball across the goal which just evaded Sadio. Missed a big chance late on, though, where he should have worked the ‘keeper at the very least. Can’t buy a goal at Anfield this season.
Sadio 8 – A goal, an assist, and a sublime first-time curling effort from 25 yards which struck the upright. Did his bit defensively, as well. Brilliant, bar one weird two minute spell at the end of the first half where he lost possession three times.
La La Land 7 – Did exactly what was asked of him.
Divvy N/A – Nearly slipped in Salah for a third.