Liverpool moved back to the top of the Premier League for the time being with a fantastic 3-0 win over Bournemouth. But what are the key stats from yet another top performance at Anfield?
Midfield Maestro Naby Leads The Charge
Overall, Liverpool’s midfield were absolutely excellent, and at the heart of that was Naby Keita. His all-round game was outstanding, winning 7/8 tackles, making 97 passes at 91% accuracy means that he was able to completely control the game. But he was also highly influential, and his xG Build of 1.45 – with Naby directly involved in all three goals – the highest for a player since the opening day of the season where three players bettered that – including Keita himself.
Keita was suitably helped by the two around him though. Although Keita was the midfield controller, Fabinho was also important defensively in generating turnover with 4/4 tackles and Wijnaldum turning in a rare attacking performance – three key passes, including one big chance for 0.49 xA and of course, his stunning goal. Liverpool played their best midfield in this game and they delivered.
Front Three Fire At Once – For Once
First 16 games 2 of Mané, Mo or bobby contributed goal/assist in the same game 8 times
In the last 9 games they’ve only done it twice
— SimonBrundish (@SimonBrundish) February 5, 2019
As this tweet from Si Brundish demonstrates, in the last handful of games Liverpool have struggled to get their front three in the game. But in this one, all three were firing close to on all cylinders, all three contributing either a goal or an assist.
Firmino was back to his creative best, creating four chances, two big chances including an assist for Salah, with 0.95 xA. Sadio Mané scored for the fourth PL game in a row in the same season for the first time in an LFC shirt – having scored in the first three of the season and Brighton on the last day of last season.
And Mo Salah was absolutely everywhere. 77 touches, seven shots, a big chance, 0.7 xG, a goal, three key passes, 0.21 xA, 1.30 xG Build, 2.10 xG Chain (!!!!!), two dribbles. He now has 24 goal contributions this season, with both Mané and Firmino up to 13, that’s 50 goals or assists between them. Top stuff.
Defensive Issues Abate – For Now
Whilst the alarm bells had been ringing defensively over the last handful of games, this was a much better defensive display from the Reds. Bournemouth’s tally of 0.39 xG is the 5th lowest of the season that we’ve shipped, and the 2nd lowest since we last played Bournemouth in December. They had six shots inside the box, but Liverpool were able to block four of them.
Van Dijk and Matip were in tandem for the first time in a while and this was VVD’s best performance in a while. He wasn’t dribbled past (again), and blocked a shot, whilst between him and Matip they won 9/9 defensive aerial duels, made 17 clearances and two interceptions. Much, much better defensively from Liverpool.