Liverpool move to within 9 points of the Premier League title after a 2-1 win over Bournemouth at Anfield. Once again, it wasn’t the most convincing of victories, with the referee and VAR conspiring to award Bournemouth a controversial opening goal. The Mentality Monsters returned, though, turning the game on its head to come away with all three points.
In goal, Adrian replaced the injured Alisson and the Spaniard had to put his mistake at Chelsea quickly out of his mind. Although he didn’t look terribly assured between the sticks in this one, his 100% winning record for the Reds in the Premier League was extended.
In defence, with Robertson rested, James Milner filled in at left back and was accompanied by the regulars – Alexander-Arnold, Gomez and van Dijk. If the officials had done their job correctly, we would likely be talking about another clean sheet. It has to be said, though, that Bournemouth had a couple of other decent chances, most notably the Fraser effort that lobbed the onrushing Adrian, only to be miraculously cleared off the line by James Milner. The defence doesn’t feel as solid as it did before the mid-season break, but some of that is down to the midfield.
Onto the midfield, Fabinho, Wijnaldum and Oxlade-Chamberlain started. Fabinho still hasn’t made it back anywhere close to the form he was showing prior to his injury, which is a worry with the Atletico game just a few days away. Defensively he looked very poor at times, allowing himself to be beaten far too easily, while he was also sloppy on the ball in areas where turning over possession could be very dangerous. Gini Wijnaldum had a much better performance than he has been showing in recent weeks. He was willing to run beyond the ball and get much more involved in the game. Oxlade-Chamberlain also played quite well. Bournemouth’s set up made it difficult to penetrate through central areas but the Englishman’s energy and power was vital.
In attack, the usual front three started, with Mane scoring and assisting, while Salah got himself a goal on his 100th Premier League appearance for Liverpool. Both the Egyptian and Senegalese played well in the first half, but both failed to be quite as impressive in the second. Roberto Firmino, on the other hand, was pretty appalling for the entirety of the game. He is in a truly horrendous run of form at the moment and Takumi Minamino must be thinking that he has a chance of breaking into our attacking line with the Brazilian playing as he is currently.
As for Man of the Match, I’m unfortunately going to have to agree with the commentating disgrace that is Steve McManaman and go with James Milner. He played pretty well all match long and effectively won us the game with that incredible goal-line clearance on the hour mark.