Brilliant Liverpool Batter Bournemouth

Brilliant Liverpool Batter Bournemouth

Liverpool maintained their eleven point at the top of the Premier League with a 3-0 victory over Bournemouth at The Vitality Stadium.

Goals from Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah sufficed for the much changed European Champions who kept their first clean sheet in what feels like an age.

Jurgen Klopp made seven changes from the team that won the Merseyside derby midweek, with Salah, Oxlade Chamberlain, Keita, Jordan Henderson, Joe Gomez, Alisson and Roberto Firmino all returning for the Reds.

Such a raft of changes was always going to engender a lack of fluency and the opening thirty minutes were quite unremarkable for both sides, with Salah shooting tamely at Ben Ramsdale the only talking point of any note.

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Gradually, though, Liverpool were beginning to turn the screw and their pressure paid dividends on the 35 minute mark.

A weapon the Klopp’s team regularly used versus Everton was the long ball over the top of the defence, and this approach bore fruit again this afternoon.

Henderson, reminiscent of a quarter back picking out a wide receiver, floated a brilliant pass over the top of the retreating Bournemouth defence for Oxlade Chamberlain to touch in. Legitimate questions could be asked over Ramsdale’s positioning, but the pass and the reactions from Chamberlain — whose left wing berth had seen on the games periphery — were both of the highest calibre.

Now firmly in the box seat, with Keita — making his first Premier League start of the season — instrumental, Liverpool soon add a second. The Guinean linked wonderfully with Salah, receiving a back heel from the Egyptian in the box, before cooly, with the outside of his foot, firing past Ramsdale.

The half was going swimmingly for the league leaders, but the substitution of Dejan Lovren with what appeared to be an injury is a cause of concern, especially given the injuries to Joel Matip and Fabinho, the other centre half options.

Gomez, who was performing admirably at right back, switched to centre half and Trent Alexander Arnold slotted in at full back as Liverpool held their 2-0 lead at the break.

The 2-0 deficit took much of the life from the Cherries — who lost both Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson to hamstring injuries — and the Reds ran roughshod over the ravaged hosts.

Salah and Keita had been showing the signs of a nascent on pitch understanding and both Africans, in the mirror opposite of the second goal, once again linked up to supply a goal.

A wayward pass from substitute Jack Simpson fell to Keita and the Guinean gracefully slipped a pass behind the Bournemouth defence. The through ball was tuned perfectly to the movement of Salah and the Egyptian delicately slipped the ball past Ramsdale for the killer 3-0 goal.

The intensity of the game flatlined from there on in and the feeling was that the Anfield side could have added more goals to their tally if the mood had struck them.

Instead, with the key Salzburg Champions League game on the horizon, energy preservation was the call for the final 20 or second minutes.

Young academy product, Curtis Jones, was given his debut when he replaced Andrew Robertson, with the Scot earning a seldom enjoyed rest for the final 15 minutes.

Showing excellent ball retention, the still unbeaten Reds saw out the game with the foremost of comfort in a performance fitting of European Champions.

After an opening to the season that included many narrow wins, this was Liverpool at their best and the gulf in class between them and Eddie Howe’s men was gaping.

Going forward, Klopp will no doubt be pleased that Salah looked back to his best and that Keita showed all of the class that convinced the club to part with over 50M to seal his signature.

Liverpool team: Alisson, Gomez, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Keita, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Oxlade Chamberlain.

Substitutions: Alexander Arnold for Lovren, Jones for Robertson, Shaqiri for Oxlade Chamberlain.

Subs not used: Adrian, Elliott, Origi, Mane.