Liverpool came from behind to beat Bournemouth as a 2-1 victory at Anfield moved them to within three wins of the Premier League title.
Liverpool's bid to arrest a run of three defeats in four matches got off to the worst possible start as Callum Wilson's contentious ninth-minute opener - allowed to stand after VAR ruled the Bournemouth striker's shove on Joe Gomez was legal - left Anfield stunned.
- Klopp admits celebrating at linesman
- Premier League Table | Fixtures | Top scorers
- How Liverpool and Bournemouth lined up
But Liverpool produced the response of would-be champions as Mohamed Salah, on his 100th Premier League appearance, and Sadio Mane punished costly Bournemouth defensive errors to turn the game around in the space of eight minutes before half-time.
A stunning goal-line clearance from captain James Milner and a late offside flag prevented Ryan Fraser and Wilson from rescuing a priceless point for the Cherries' survival bid.
But Liverpool avoided paying the price for a lethargic second-half performance as they held on for a record-breaking 22nd consecutive top-flight home victory that moves them 25 points clear at the top of table and to within nine points of the title.
Liverpool: Adrian (6), Alexander-Arnold (6), Gomez (6), Van Dijk (7), Milner (7), Fabinho (6), Wijnaldum (6), Oxlade-Chamberlain (6), Salah (8), Firmino (6), Mane (8).
Subs: Lallana (n/a), Origi (n/a).
Bournemouth: Ramsdale (6), Stacey (6), S Cook (4), Ake (7), Smith (6), Billing (6), Lerma (6), L Cook (6), Fraser (7), Stanislas (6), Wilson (7).
Subs: Simpson (4), Solanke (5), Gosling (n/a).
Man of the Match: Sadio Mane
How Liverpool returned to winning ways
Liverpool started brightly in their bid to bounce back from defeats to Atletico Madrid, Watford and Chelsea but found themselves behind inside 10 minutes.
Wilson's clear push on Gomez went unpunished by on-field referee Paul Tierney and, after Wilson applied the finishing touch to Jefferson Lerma's cross at the end of a slick Bournemouth attack, VAR found no clear and obvious error, to Jurgen Klopp's amazement.
- James Milner the injured Andrew Robertsonas Liverpool made six changes from the FA Cup exit at Chelsea.
- Junior Stanislas replaced the injured Joshua King in Bournemouth's only change from the draw with Chelsea.
Bournemouth smelt blood and pushed for a second, with Nathan Ake's towering header tipped onto the Liverpool bar by stand-in goalkeeper Adrian, but an injury to Cherries captain Steve Cook swung the momentum in the hosts' favour.
Cook's replacement, Jack Simpson, was caught on the ball by Mane - a costly error which was punished by Salah - who gathered a poor square pass before beating Aaron Ramsdale at his near post.
Liverpool found their groove and one quickly became two as Virgil van Dijk's long pass released Mane through on goal, and the Senegal international slotted his 18th goal of the season. They could have had a third before the break when Milner volleyed straight at Ramsdale.
Milner, captain in Jordan Henderson's continued absence, prevented Fraser from drawing Bournemouth level with a lob over Adrian at the start of a second period in which Liverpool failed to get going.
Mane rattled the angle of post and bar with a stunning curled shot and Roberto Firmino spurned a glorious late chance to end his Anfield goal drought, but those proved immaterial as the Reds marched on towards their first top-flight crown in three decades.
Stats: Fortress Anfield
- Liverpool have now won their last 22 Premier League home games, the longest such winning run in English top-flight history.
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 55 Premier League matches at Anfield (W45 D10) - only Chelsea between 2004-2008 (86 games) have had a longer unbeaten run at home in Premier League history.
- Since the start of last season, Bournemouth have lost more Premier League away games than any other side (24).
Man of the Match - Sadio Mane
Liverpool needed their inspirational forward to be at his very best in order to see off Bournemouth's sturdy challenge at Anfield on Saturday lunchtime.
Having fallen behind early on, the home team were after a response, and quick, and that is exactly what Mane provided them after creating Liverpool's equaliser having dispossessed Jack Simpson deep inside Bournemouth's half, before finding Salah.
And the Senegal international was on hand to latch on to Van Dijk's through ball and find the bottom righthand corner of the net eight minutes later for his 18th goal in all competitions this season, 14 of which have come in the league.
Jurgen Klopp hit out at VAR after the result - but admitted he regretted celebrating in front of assistant referee Dan Cook when Salah's equaliser went in.
"I was in good spirits, let me say it like this," he said. "Yes, that happened (the celebration). Would I do it now? No, but in the moment I just don't understand how it could be a goal.
"This shows the problem of VAR still exists. It is a human being. I am not sure, does anyone in the room think it was not a foul?
"The touch was enough to let Joe struggle, they score a goal in the next situations. How is it possible someone sits there and doesn't see it?
"Mike Dean (fourth official) I am sure saw it is a foul but it is not his job any more. VAR hides behind the phrase 'clear and obvious'."
What the managers said...
Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp: I was absolutely happy about the result, the three points and the
performance because I knew it would be tricky for different reasons. I think the decisions of the ref around the goals made it even more tricky for us, obviously. We wanted to fight back before the game and after that we had to fight back. How we played after being 1-0 down was exceptional, to be honest. The boys' reaction today, I loved - I really loved."
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: "I thought we performed really well. I can't be critical of too much of what we did. We knew we would have limited possession. It was a case of how well we defended. I thought our defensive shape was really good. What cost us the game was two moments in our half where we turned the ball over too easily."
Liverpool host Atletico Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday at 8pm before travelling to Goodison Park for the Merseyside derby against Everton on Monday Night Football at 8pm - live on Sky Sports Premier League. Bournemouth host Crystal Palace on Saturday at 3pm.