Liverpool extended their lead at the pinnacle of the Premier League table by 11 points, courtesy of a convincing, all-round triumph over Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at the Vitality.
Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mohamed Salah aided the cause, as a sorry Cherries outfit failed to provide answers to the relentless pressure and quality delivered by the champions-elect.
They did curb their natural attacking game and plotted all bodies behind the ball, but were left stranded by moments of absolute brilliance and innovation. The 19-minute scoring spree on either side of half time buried the game’s fortune, as Liverpool also lengthened their PL unbeaten record to an astonishing 33 matches.
They drove through spaces and most importantly, found not one but many ways of carving through the Bournemouth back line. A series of forays, coupled with patience and the process of probing led to an absolute coup.
On that note, we analyse three prime reasons that led to yet another comprehensive victory for Liverpool.
#3 Nathan Ake’s gratuitous injury
It was Liverpool doing all the talking as the game started to take shape, with the four-man Cherries midfield enveloping and stuffing up narrow, central spaces in their defensive third. The Reds were made to work hard and play a lot of passes out wide and back.
There was immediate clouding over a white shirt in the early stages, with not much to celebrate for the league leaders. Apart from a tame effort from Mohamed Salah on the back of some promising build-up down the right, not much troubled young Aaron Ramsdale.
In fact, former Reds forward Dominic Solanke even had a shy on goal in the 20th minute. But, it all changed. In what transpired as an end-to-end attacking move, Nathan Ake timed his sliding challenge to sheer perfection against the pacy Salah.
Just as how apt the tackle proved to be, Ake strained his hamstring in the process. And after a full minute of holding on like a warrior, the sturdy defender had to hit the deck in order to stop play. That, made all the difference in the game.
Since his departure, Bournemouth looked slow to react, lesser attentive and swarmed around the back with little direction.
Ake would shepherd and bark orders, stick to his positions and draw out whenever required. And alas, a ball over the top of Bournemouth’s young center-backs from Henderson was enough to split the hosts’ defence, as Oxlade-Chamberlain latched on to score his first league goal in almost two years.