Liverpool came from a goal behind to register their first win in three games in all competitions with a 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at Anfield.
Callum Wilson gave the relegation threatened visitors the lead in controversial style, when the striker clearly pushed Joe Gomez in the back in the build up to his goal, with VAR inexplicably allowing the effort to stand. However, goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane gave the Reds the win, despite a nervy and slack performance.
After dominating the opening exchanges in terms of possession and territory, but failing to test Aaron Ramsdale in the Cherries goal, the visitors opened the scoring with a massive helping hand from the officials.
A long ball behind the Liverpool defence saw Gomez in a race with Wilson. First to the ball, Gomez looked to have the situation under control but, after a blatant push by Wilson, lost the ball.
With the hosts almost frozen by the ridiculous non call from the official, Bournemouth swept the ball wide to Phillip Billing and the Dane reverse passed to Jefferson Lerma who squared to Wilson to tap in for 1-0.
Inexplicably, much to the rage of Jurgen Klopp, the goal was allowed to stand despite VAR showing the clear shove on Gomez in the build up.
One goal almost became two when Nathan Ake headed a corner at Adrian and the Spaniard unconvincingly parried the effort off the top of his own bar.
The Reds were sparked into action by the concession of a goal and a sharp turn saw Roberto Firmino test Ramsdale but the keeper was equal to the Brazilian’s half volley.
Much has been made of the relative lack of form of Liverpool’s front three in recent weeks, but Salah and Mané combined to equalise mid way through the half.
Pilfering then ball from Jack Simpson just outside the Bournemouth box, Mané, with a clear opening, squared to Salah. The pass was poor and behind the Egyptian but regardless he managed to dig it out and fire low past Ramsdale and into the bottom right corner.
The European champions began turning the screw and upping the pressure. Bournemouth weathered a number of corners and a last gasp block stopped Trent Alexander-Arnold’s cross from being tapped in by Mané. But Eddie Howe’s teams resolve was broken just after the half hour mark.
Virgil Van Dijk stepped into midfield to intercept a pass and — in the next movement — then slid a through ball in behind for Mané to race onto and finish smartly into the bottom right corner.
Buoyed on by the increasingly boisterous crowd, Liverpool continued to attack Bournemouth held out to go into the break just 2-1 down.
A nondescript opening 15 minutes of the second period was sparked into life when James Milner acrobatically cleared a Ryan Fraser shot off his own line.
Fabinho — whose performance was nothing short of hapless — gave away the ball in a dangerous area and the Scot found himself advancing on Adrian’s goal. Fraser lifted the ball over the keeper, but, ever vigilant, Milner covered across prevented a nailed on goal by half volleying the clearance in midair.
The game was floating with the Reds failing to stamp their authority on proceedings, with a van Dijk header and a Firmino cross across the face of goal the only opportunities Liverpool engineered as late as the 72nd minute.
Mané came close to adding a third, however, when his stunning 25 yard strike hit the post with Ramsdale neaten all ends up.
Salah’a reverse ball to release Milner in the box saw the Englishman’s low cross forced behind by Ake, as Liverpool kept applying pressure but lacked the requisite final ball to lay on their third goal.
There was a palpable nervousness around Anfield and Firmino done nothing to alleviate the anxiety when he skied a cross from Salah from ten yards out, spurning a great opportunity to kill the game as a contest.
Nevertheless, the home team held on for a victory that brings them that one step closer to wrapping up their 19th league title.
Liverpool team: Adrian; Alexander Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Milner; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mane.
Substitutions: Lallana for Oxlade Chamberlain, Origi for Fabinho.
Subs not used: Lonergan, Matip, Williams, Minamino, Keita.