Having lost two consecutive games for the first time this season, Liverpool bounced back at Anfield against Bournemouth as the Reds fought back to scrape a 2-1 victory over the relegation-threatened club.
Jürgen Klopp made six changes from the side that lost midweek against Chelsea. James Milner replaced Andy Robertson as a precaution, with Trent Alexander-Arnold, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gini Wijnaldum, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino all returning to the starting line-up. Adrián also kept his place in goal following an injury to Alisson.
Liverpool started the stronger of the two sides, however went behind in the opening 10 minutes through a contentious Callum Wilson tap in.
The Bournemouth striker appeared to illegally shove Joe Gomez off the ball to win possession in the final third. The striker played the ball wide and burst into the box where an eventual low cross fizzed across goal found him free at the back post, where he tapped the ball into the empty net.
The goal seemed to shock the Reds who required the intervention of Adrián minutes later to avoid Bournemouth doubling their lead. Nathan Aké wriggled free during a corner and headed the ball goalwards, but quick reflexes from the Spaniard denied the Dutchman.
Liverpool continued to look lacklustre as the half continued. However, a slice of fortune in the form of a Bournemouth error let the Reds back into the game.
A horrible mistake from Jack Simpson gifted the back to Sadio Mané who had players in support. The Senegalese tried to pick out Salah, but a sloppy pass looked to have killed the chance. Fortunately, the Egyptian got the ball under control and took a touch before dispatching a disguised low shot into the bottom corner and past the wrong-footed goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale.
Once the game was level, the Reds didn’t take long in nudging ahead as the home side then took the lead in the 33rd minute through Mané.
As has been seen throughout the season, Klopp’s men are most dangerous on the counter, and this was the case for Liverpool’s second of the game as Virgil van Dijk stepped in to intercept before playing Mané through on goal.
The No.10 found himself one-on-one with the keeper and Anfield erupted as he opened his body up and curled the ball into the bottom-right corner to put Liverpool ahead.
The Reds continued to push for a third for the remainder of the half but were unable to unlock a Bournemouth team who had proceeded to defend in a compact block since going behind.
Similarly to the flow of the first half, the start to the second saw Liverpool boss possession but struggle to carve out chances as Bournemouth defended deep and in numbers.
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The Cherries continued to prove to be intermittently dangerous on the counterattack, with the Reds needing a spectacular goal-line clearance from the impressive James Milner to deny Ryan Fraser after the Scottish winger lobbed Adrián.
The game continued in its low burning fashion as Liverpool struggled to breakdown the compact Bournemouth defence.
The Reds kept possession well but continually struggled to find the final ball with Liverpool resulting to trying their luck from distance, first through Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and then Mané, who had the Anfield crowd on its feet as he struck the woodwork with a curling effort from 30 yards.
Roberto Firmino missed a glorious opportunity to break his Anfield duck after a brilliant Mo Salah pass, blazing over the bar when it looked easier to score. Thankfully it didn’t matter in the end, with all in the terraces relieved to see Paul Tierney blow the whistle.
Despite not being a typical Liverpool performance, the win sees the Reds get back to winning ways. Klopp’s men are next in action on March 11 when they will look to overturn their 1-0 aggregate deficit in their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 second-leg tie against Atlético de Madrid.