Any suggestions that the foot might be taken off the Premier League pedal were emphatically blown away at Anfield as Liverpool got themselves a routine 3-0 win against Bournemouth. Each of that fantastic front three found themselves on the scoresheet, as Eddie Howe’s side were put to the sword by a Liverpool side who really didn’t have to get out of second gear for the most part.
The Reds have now scored 121 goals in all competitions this season, the magical front three have got themselves 82 of those, and the King of Egypt has got himself 40.
The win means that Liverpool need five points from their last four games to ensure Champions League football remains at Anfield for another season.
Liverpool: Loris Karius, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Dejan Lovren, Virgil van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino
Bournemouth: Asmir Begovic, Steven Francis, Steve Cook, Nathan Ake, Ryan Fraser, Lewis Cook, Dan Gosling, Charlie Daniels, Jordon Ibe, Joshua King, Jermain Defoe
The Reds got off to a flying start, on the front-foot from the first whistle. Trent Alexander-Arnold found space on the right flank very early in the game, and put in a delicious cross to the right foot of Mo Salah at the near post but, for once, the Egyptian put the ball wide off the mark.
But the Reds weren’t to be denied for too long, as Jordan Henderson’s perfect cross found the head of Sadio Mané, but Begovic saved the initial header, only for it to fall straight into the path of the Senegalese who put the ball in the back of the net, as the Reds were off and away.
The intensity did not drop as the midfielders kept snapping at the Bournemouth players and never allowed them to string a run of passes together.
Alexander-Arnold was finding a lot of joy down the right flank, as the Reds’ pressure enabled Henderson to dictate play from quarter-back role and spray balls across to either flank.
But apart from two shots from Salah that dribbled into the hands of Begovic, the Reds weren’t able to create too much up until right at the end of the half, when another cross from the right flank found the head of Mané, but his diving header went wide of the mark.
After the break, the pattern of play was similar with Bournemouth content to sit in their shape, and the Reds pressurising them.
Trent was having a stormer of a game at right-back, and he was again on the gallop. He won the ball back in his own half, and went on a merry run down the flank, beating a few men and pushing it into Salah, but once again, the Egyptian’s shot didn’t cause enough of a problem to Begovic.
But he wasn’t to be denied for too much longer. Once again, Alexander-Arnold was instrumental in Liverpool’s attack. His cross onto Salah’s head was inch perfect, and the Egyptian’s finish was the perfect mix of awareness and execution.
Salah knew he couldn’t bring the ball down and that Begovic was off his line, so he sent a looping header beyond the Bosnian for his 30th Premier League goal of the season – his 40th in all competitions.
The Reds were purring after that goal, as Salah got himself the ball and played it to Mané, whose left-footed strike was just wide of the goal.
Oxlade-Chamberlain soon found space to charge into and played a beautiful through-ball to Firmino, who brought it back onto his left foot, but a sensational tackle from Steve Cook denied the Brazilian his goal.
But soon, the Reds’ intensity went missing for a while. And the Cherries tried to capitalise, as they had their best phase of the game.
Loris Karius had to make his only save of the game after Lovren cleared a cross straight to Gosling, whose shot was straight at the German.
Soon after, Callum Wilson got in behind Van Dijk, but the shot was wide of Karius’ post.
Firmino then got his goal, as he was set up on the left side of the box by Oxlade-Chamberlain. He brought the ball onto his right foot and smashed past Begovic at his near post.
Magical Mané. Sensational Salah. Fantastic Firmino. And a sensational young Scouser who is enjoying the best phase of his Liverpool career. Up the Mighty Reds!