The Reds cruised to victory on the south coast to retain their unbeaten Premier League run. Liverpool beat Bournemouth 3-0 in what was an easy performance at the Vitality Stadium, stretching their lead again to double digits atop the table.
Jurgen Klopp continued to rotate his side in an effort to provide rest without relinquishing rhythm. That meant the side needed time to synchronise. The breakthrough came when Jordan Henderson beat Bournemouth’s entire side with a deep diagonal pass behind the defence, where Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain raced through for an exquisite one-touch finish.
With the lead, Liverpool applied patient pressure to the home side, pinning Bournemouth into their own end for long periods. The Reds were content to recycle the ball and bide their time, taking chances as they came.
Just before the break, Mo Salah set up Naby Keita with a beautiful back-heel that the midfielder hooked in for the second goal. With halftime offering Liverpool increased leverage in each match this season, Bournemouth were effectively broken.
As has been their way, Liverpool jumped on their opponent early in the second half, when Keita sent Salah through with a perfectly weighted pass that the Egyptian simply turned inside the far post. From that point, the Reds ran the rule over their hosts and coasted to victory. In Jurgen Klopp’s 100th league match with the club, Liverpool won their 71st.
Here are our four findings from the match.
It took Liverpool the better part of half an hour to work out their hosts in Bournemouth. While they dominated possession and even managed to generate a few chances, the final ball initially proved elusive.
However, once Henderson found Oxlade-Chamberlain for the opener, the Reds wrestled the match completely away from the hosts.
Liverpool rolled on against the Cherries, punctuating their stroll with sublime strikes. Keita and Salah exchanged roles as provider for each of their respective goals, but this was a managed performance by the staff and side.
While a few chances went unfinished, the Reds never looked rushed but remained relentless in their control of the match.
Much has been made of Mo Salah’s flagging form, which no doubt has been overblown. Still, he has not looked his lethal self since the Hamza Choudhury challenge on matchday eight.
His injured ankle held him back just enough to suggest he was struggling, despite fighting through it for the side and posting similar statistics to last season.
Against Bournemouth, a club he loves to punish, the Egyptian king showed the sparkle that seemed astray. Early, he tested goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale with a left-footed curler.
Yet, his assist was majestic, drawing three defenders near the edge of the box before back-heeling and nearly taking Keita by surprise before the finish. His goal simply added sparkle to a strong performance.
Few players have arrived with the volume of hype as Naby Keita.
The season-long wait meant supporters could follow him with far greater attention, feeling far more familiarity with his play. Then the delayed start to last season, the struggles for fitness, but flashes of form that hinted at what was to come. While injuries have hampered him this season too, his may yet have excellent timing.
Despite coughing the ball up on a couple of occasions, the Guinean midfielder fitted into the new look side with ease on the south coast. He helped everyone remember the hope generated on his arrival.
His ability to run with the ball and range of passing provides something significantly different to Liverpool’s midfield. If this proves more than another false dawn, he offers Jurgen Klopp more than just another alternative.
After making five changes to the lineup against Everton midweek, the gaffer made another seven for Bournemouth. Such is the need to rotate the side with a glut of games, nine in four weeks, to get on the other side of the festive season.
In both cases, the rotation refreshed the side with remarkable results. Being able to rest starters through this period not only requires big calls but big quality. Add some injuries to the equation and Liverpool’s squad depth is showing exceptionally.
While Dejan Lovren’s early substitution will cause concern, Curtis Jones making his Premier League debut encourages celebration.
Questions about some of the squad’s fitness now subsiding could not have come at a better time in the campaign. The full roster now rejuvenates the side.