Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League to 11 points thanks to a comfortable 3-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain opened the scoring after 35 minutes as he poked home following a brilliant Jordan Henderson pass, before a delightful one-two between Mohamed Salah and Naby Keita culminated in the Guinean midfielder stroking home just before half-time. Keita then returned the favour as he provided the through ball for Salah to slot home and end the game as a contest early in the second half.
Despite Jurgen Klopp opting to rest the likes of Sadio Mane and Trent Alexander-Arnold, this was an imperious performance that was full of quality. With a crucial Champions League game against FC Salzburg just three days away, a simple win with an under-strength team was just the ticket.
The only blot on an excellent day for the Reds was when central defender Dejan Lovren was forced off with a knock in the first half.
Manager rating out of 10
7 — Klopp will be delighted that he didn’t need to rely on the services of Mane, as the German’s minor tweaks went virtually unnoticed in what was an excellent Liverpool display.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best, players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alisson, 6 — The Brazilian stopper would’ve been forgiven for unfolding his deck chair and putting his feet up, such was the lack of threat from the Bournemouth front line.
DF Andy Robertson, 6 — The Scot was never troubled defensively, and while his overall final ball wasn’t vintage, he did release Salah with a wonderful 50-yard pass during a brisk Liverpool counter early on. Brought off for Curtis Jones for the final 15 minutes.
DF Virgil van Dijk, 7 — A superb tackle denied the onrushing Dominic Solanke as the Bournemouth forward raced towards goal, and that was the only real piece of defending that the Dutchman needed to do.
DF Dejan Lovren, 6 — Dealt well when called into action but suffered a frustrating end. The Croatia international was forced off with an injury after just 39 minutes and was replaced by Alexander-Arnold.
DF Joe Gomez, 7 — Saw plenty of the ball in the attacking third and used it well with some good crosses into the Bournemouth box. Yellow-carded for cynically pulling back Solanke after losing possession, before shifting to centre-back to make way for Alexander-Arnold.
MF Jordan Henderson, 7 — A superb cross-field pass from inside his own half released Oxlade-Chamberlain for the game’s opening goal, and the Liverpool skipper controlled the midfield without coming out of second gear.
MF James Milner, 7 — A performance full of hunger and desire from the 33-year-old, who was busy on the ball and looking to make things happen. Unfortunate not to have an assist to his name following some excellent deliveries into the Bournemouth penalty area.
MF Naby Keita, 8 — Capped off a relentless Liverpool first half with a well-taken finish to put his side in total control, before providing a superb slide-rule pass to release Salah on the way to Liverpool’s third.
FW Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, 7 — Excellent running on the shoulder of the last defender gave him the chance to poke the ball home ahead of Bournemouth goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale to put Liverpool on their way to victory. Replaced by Xherdan Shaqiri for the closing stages.
FW Mohamed Salah, 8 — The Egyptian provided a sumptuous backheel to lay the ball on a plate for Keita to stroke home Liverpool’s second, before taking his goal superbly as he clipped the ball past the onrushing Ramsdale for his first away Premier League strike of the season.
FW Roberto Firmino, 6 — Had some fleeting sights of goal, but the Brazilian was largely wasteful with them. Still, he gave the hosts plenty to think about with his movement and running.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold, 6 — Slotted into his usual right-back role and looked as assured as ever. Fired wide just before the hour mark.
DF Curtis Jones, N/R — The 18-year-old volleyed just over from distance on his Premier League debut.
FW Xherdan Shaqiri, N/R — Unable to add to the scoring in his brief cameo.