Bournemouth 0-3 Liverpool: Reds remain unbeaten with win against luckless Cherries
Report and free match highlights as Liverpool go 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League
By Charlotte Marsh at the Vitality Stadium
Last Updated: 08/12/19 7:09am
Liverpool surged 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League after a 3-0 win against Bournemouth, who lost Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson to injury.
Jurgen Klopp's side barely made it out of third gear at the Vitality Stadium, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (35) opened up the scoring just a minute after Ake - who had been Bournemouth's best defender until that point - to an apparent hamstring strain.
Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah combined for Liverpool's next two goals, with the former slotting home just before the break (44) before Salah produced a cool finish not long after the restart (54). Bournemouth suffered another injury blow 10 minutes later when Wilson also hobbled off, piling more misery onto their fifth successive league defeat.
Liverpool are now 11 points clear at the top of the Premier League and have kept their first clean sheet in 13 games. Bournemouth remain in 15th, but could slip further down the table with those around them playing over the next two days.
How Liverpool cruised to another win
It was a low-key start on the south coast, with Bournemouth having the first sights of goal. In the 20th minute, Ryan Fraser slipped in former Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke down the right, but his strike was put into the side of the net by the body of Dejan Lovren. Fraser was involved again a few minutes later, this time setting up Arnaut Groeneveld but he dragged his shot just wide of the far post.
But for all of their good early work at both ends, the game turned when Bournemouth suffered a massive injury blow just after the half-hour mark. Ake made a well-timed clearance ahead of Salah, but as he did so, looked to have pulled his hamstring. Liverpool eventually put the ball out of play so the medics could come on, and Ake was soon replaced by Jack Simpson.
Bournemouth: Ramsdale (5), Ake (6), Francis (7), Mepham (6), Rico (6), Fraser (6), Lerma (6), Biling (6), Groeneveld (6), Solanke (6), C Wilson (6).
Subs used: Simpson (5), Cook (5), Gosling (5).
Liverpool: Alisson (5), Gomez (7), Van Dijk (8), Lovren (6), Robertson (7), Henderson (7), Milner (7), Oxlade-Chamberlain (7), Keita (8), Firmino (7), Salah (8).
Subs used: Alexander-Arnold (7), Jones (6), Shaqiri (n/a).
Man of the match: Mohamed Salah.
A minute after Ake's departure, and Liverpool took the lead. A wonderful long pass from Jordan Henderson picked out the run of Oxlade-Chamberlain. Chris Mepham could not keep up with his pace and Aaron Ramsdale had come well off his line to try and put the Liverpool midfielder off, but his hesitation allowed Oxlade-Chamberlain to flick the ball past him.
From then, the game was Liverpool's and they added another just before the break. It was a wonderful attacking move as Keita picked out Salah at the top of the area. The Egypt forward held the ball up superbly with three defenders surrounding him before back heeling the ball into Keita's path. It was then an easy finish for Guinea international, who slotted home past Ramsdale.
- Bournemouth made two changes, with Adam Smith (injured) and Harry Wilson (ineligible) dropping out and replaced by Simon Francis and Ryan Fraser.
- Only four Liverpool players remained in the starting XI from their midweek Merseyside derby win - Dejan Lovren, Virgril van Dijk, Andy Robertson and James Milner. Among the seven changes, Alisson returned in goal while Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino came in to attack.
Nine minutes after the restart and Liverpool added their third. It was a terrible error from Simpson, with his pass landing into the path of Keita, allowing the Liverpool forward to drive towards the area. He slotted it in for Salah at the far post and with Ramsdale once again off his line, the forward was able to coolly slot into the far corner.
Bournemouth already had a number of first-team players out of action ahead of the game but their injury list added another name just after the hour mark, as a second key man had to be substituted. Wilson tried to run after a pass, with Trent Alexander-Arnold in pursuit, but pulled up with what looked like a strain. He was soon taken off and Dan Gosling came on.
The hosts did in fact have the ball in the net in the 66th minute, but it was ruled out for offside. It was a nice move from the hosts too as Jefferson Lerma fed Diego Rico down the left, with his subsequent cross turned home by Groeneveld, but the linesman's flag was up. It was the correct decision too with Rico massively offside in the build-up as Bournemouth's bad luck continued.
Liverpool had a few more chances as the game meandered to a conclusion, but should have added a fourth with the last kick of the game. The visitors were awarded a free kick in the final minute, with Henderson and Salah playing it short to one another before the Liverpool captain curled the ball goalwards, but a leaping save from Ramsdale acrobatically tipped it around the post.
Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp: "The boys made a lot of good decisions and that's why it was a comfortable win, maybe more than we would have expected before the game, but Bournemouth were in a difficult situation, losing two key players, and then you get a feeling that it's not a Bournemouth day.
"But we scored wonderful goals, had other big chances and the result is most important, but the performance was really good as well, especially in the second half when we were really professional and assured. That's what we have to be in the moment and it's not about being constantly exciting, it's about doing the right stuff. There were not a lot of difficult moments to defend, which is good and very important so nearly a perfect day."
Bournemouth's Eddie Howe: "The game seemed to hinge on Nathan's injury. Up until that point, we had looked relatively solid, we were in the game, we were a threat at different moments but he gets his injury and we concede seconds later. It was a hammer blow, a double whammy with the injury and the goal and we never recovered.
"We're going to need players to win games - you don't win matches and get points in the Premier League without good players and we've got such a long injury list now that it's obviously a big concern for the future. We've got games coming up thick and fast and we can't let this run continue."
Man of the match - Mohamed Salah
This could have been either Salah or Keita after their superb attacking performances, but the Egypt forward just takes the accolade. He was rested in midweek and it clearly did him the world of good, looking dangerous every time he picked up the ball and showing off his trademark flair.
His attacking stats make for some impressive reading too. He had five shots, four of which were on target and one was a very well-taken goal from a man clearly enjoying his football in this special side. He also made four key passes, picking up an assist among those, which was a sensational back pass for Keita - it was almost instinctive.
Merson: These are the games that win the PL
Analysis from Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday:
"These are the games that, for me, win you the Premier League.
"I know they're not in form but, they have a go, Bournemouth. You look and think, 'That's not the easiest game'. Liverpool made it look like an FA Cup third-round game against a League Two or a non-league team. That's no disrespect to Bournemouth but that's how Liverpool made them look; they were head and shoulders above - so, so comfortable.
"The Bournemouth goalkeeper's got to come for the first goal but Mo Salah played in second gear - he was outstanding. Jurgen Klopp's getting his changes right. I didn't think this Liverpool team had it in them, to rotate and not be weaker, but we've seen in these last few weeks that they can. The thing for me, too, is that this is not the Man City of last season. Liverpool just have to stay focused and I think it's theirs."
- Bournemouth have become the first side to lose five consecutive top-flight meetings with Liverpool by a margin of three or more goals each time, having lost those five by a combined score of 17-0.
- Liverpool's Mohamed Salah has scored more Premier League goals against Bournemouth (seven) than any other opponent, scoring in all five of his appearances against the Cherries in the competition.
- Of the 19 outfield players to feature for Liverpool in the Premier League this season, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita were the 15th and 16th to score respectively; only in 2015-16 have they had more different scorers in a single Premier League campaign (17, excluding own goals).
It's another tricky fixture for Bournemouth next weekend as they travel to Chelsea in the Premier League (kick-off 3pm). Liverpool face a crucial midweek trip to Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League (kick-off 5.55pm), needing a draw to see them into the last 16. They will then face struggling Watford in the Premier League on Saturday (kick-off 12.30pm).