Clubs, English Premier League, Liverpool, Story


Liverpool edge closer to their first league title since 1989-90 with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth.
Steve Nicol is skeptical of Liverpool’s ability to defend against Atletico Madrid in light of recent results.
Jurgen Klopp explains just how important it is for Liverpool to get back to winning ways vs. Bournemouth.
Ale Moreno and Shaka Hislop examine how Alisson’s injury will affect Liverpool in the second leg vs. Atletico.

Liverpool returned to winning ways following back-to-back defeats in league and cup with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth in Saturday’s early Premier League game.

The Cherries took a shock lead in the ninth minute when Callum Wilson pounced on lax defending to get on the end of a Jefferson Lerma cross and slot home at the back post.

Liverpool responded with heaps of intensity and were rewarded 16 minutes later when Sadio Mane robbed the ball from Jack Simpson deep in Bournemouth territory before scruffily teeing up Mohamed Salah to equalise, and Mane got a goal of his own in the 33rd minute when he raced clear before clipping the ball past Aaron Ramsdale in the visitors’ goal to put the hosts on their way to victory.

Positives

Coming from behind to claim three important points should provide something of a boost for a Liverpool side that had been going through a bit of a rough patch, and getting though the game without any further injuries ahead of the crucial Champions League round-of-16 second leg against Atletico Madrid will be a relief for manager Jurgen Klopp.

Negatives

There was a real vulnerability about the Liverpool back four on the counter-attack in the opening 20 minutes, with simple balls over the top causing plenty of problems for a Reds backline that had looked impregnable up until a couple of weeks ago.

Manager rating out of 10

6 — Klopp took the decision to rest Andrew Robertson as a precaution ahead of the Atletico game on Wednesday, but kept faith in a forward line that hadn’t scored in more than 180 minutes of football, and was rewarded with a professional recovery after going a goal down.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Adrian, 6 — A somewhat unconvincing save saw the stand-in keeper tip Nathan Ake‘s header onto the crossbar, and while he’s less graceful than No. 1 Alisson in the way he mops up loose balls, the Spaniard was able to get the job done when called upon.

DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — Provided a stunning ball with the outside of his right boot to release Roberto Firmino in the box for a first-half chance, but the visitors were able to get in behind the full-back on more than one occasion in the opening 45 minutes with the England man stuck upfield.

DF Joe Gomez, 6 — Took a shove from Wilson on the way to the opener, and it appeared to affect the defender as he was slow to react to the referee’s decision not to award the foul, before failing to keep track of the goal scorer as he tapped home at the back post.

DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — Some beautifully sprayed balls out wide created openings for Alexander-Arnold, before an excellent through-ball released Mane on goal to coolly slot home for 2-1.

DF James Milner, 6 — Exposed and outnumbered on the overlap for Bournemouth’s surprise opener, but did offer support in the final third and probed the visiting defence with testing balls over the top. A heroic goal-line clearance denied Ryan Fraser an equaliser on the hour after the Bournemouth winger lobbed Adrian.

Sadio Mane assisted Mohamed Salah’s equaliser before scoring what proved to be Liverpool’s winner.

MF Fabinho, 6 — We’re still yet to see Fabinho at his absolute best since returning from a six-week injury lay off in January, and the Brazilian had some occasionally heavy touches and doesn’t quite appear to have found his rhythm in 2020.

MF Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 6 — Has bags of energy and really helps set the tone for how the entire team presses the opponent, but still not the finished article in regards to his defensive duties, which becomes more of an issue when Jordan Henderson is out the side. Replaced by Adam Lallana for the final seven minutes.

MF Georginio Wijnaldum, 6 — Had a busy start to the game as Liverpool imposed themselves early on, but took an accidental blow to the face from Ake and never really got back into the thick of the game thereafter.

FW Mohamed Salah, 7 — Did brilliantly to get the ball from under his feet after a backward pass from Mane to fire home to get his side back level, in what was a welcome return to form for the forward.

FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — Forced a decent save from Ramsdale after dealing well with an awkward bouncing ball, before somehow failing to hit the target from eight yards out with the goal at his mercy in second-half injury time. The Brazilian has now gone 19 Premier League games at Anfield without a goal, and was replaced at the death by Divock Origi.

FW Sadio Mane, 7 — Did well to dispossess Bournemouth sub Simpson, before making a meal of what should have been a simple pass across the box for Salah to score. Fortunately for the Senegalese, his teammate was able to find space and tuck the ball away, before Mane got in on the scoring act himself shortly after when he slotted home confidently from the edge of the box. Inches away from a glorious second goal with a curling effort from distance that cannoned off the angle between post and bar.

Substitutes

Adam Lallana, N/A — Kept the Liverpool, midfield machine ticking over in the closing stages.

Divock Origi, N/A — Not enough time to make an impact.



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