Premier League: Rampaging Liverpool power back into top four after thrashing Bournemouth
Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho inspired Liverpool to a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth as the Reds powered back into the Premier League's top four on Sunday.
Bournemouth: Mohamed Salah and Philippe Coutinho inspired Liverpool to a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth as the Reds powered back into the Premier League's top four on Sunday.
Egyptian winger Salah is the first Liverpool player since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in 2013-14 to hit the 20-goal mark in all competitions, and he has done it in only 26 matches.
Brazil forward Coutinho moved into double figures for the campaign despite only playing his first game of the season in mid-September because of injury.
Both Salah and Coutinho scored wonderful individual goals to put Liverpool in control at Dean Court.
Dejan Lovren was also on target as Liverpool swept to a victory which was confirmed by a second-half Roberto Firmino header.
The result lifted Jurgen Klopp's side above Arsenal into fourth place.
It also erased memories of this fixture last season when Liverpool famously surrendered a 3-1 lead with 15 minutes to go to lose 4-3.
Klopp surprisingly left out Sadio Mane as he made four changes to his line-up after drawing 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion in midweek.
Despite that, Liverpool made a bright start and almost took the lead after 11 minutes when Coutinho's curling free-kick came back off the upright.
Nine minutes later they made their domination count with a wonderful solo goal from the same man.
Coutinho raced away down the left, weaving past two players with exquisite balance before cutting the ball into the net past goalkeeper Asmir Begovic.
Firmino almost doubled that lead with an effort which deflected wide after excellent work by the ever-dangerous Salah.
From the resulting corner, Lovren dived to head home after Firmino had somehow kept the ball in play.
Two down with only 26 minutes on the clock, Bournemouth were already on the ropes.
Junior Stanislas set up a good chance for Jermain Defoe before half-time, sending the striker clean through on goal – only to see him shoot against the left-hand post rather than into the net.
Begovic then denied Liverpool what would have been a stunning goal when Coutinho flicked a ball over the defence for Salah, who shot straight at the goalkeeper.
But there was no keeping Salah out for long.
A minute before the break the 25-year-old conjured up his own solo goal, turning his man inside the area and firing home left-footed to underline his importance to the team since signing from Roma last summer.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain almost added to the score with a shot which cannoned back off a post in the second half before Firmino glanced home a header from another excellent Coutinho cross to confirm victory.
There was an added bonus, too, when Adam Lallana returned from long-term injury as a 71st-minute substitute for Salah to rousing cheers from Liverpool's fans.
The result leaves Klopp's side unbeaten in nine league games and heading into the Christmas schedule in confident mood.
Bournemouth, who have won only eight points at home all season, are 16th and only a point above the relegation zone.
The Norwegian, who took over from Jose Mourinho in 2018, will stay at Old Trafford until at least 2024, with the option of an extra year.
The AFC confirmed that the playoff and group stage (South) matches of the second-tier continental club competition will be held in the Maldives.
Marcus Rashford, Jadon Sancho and Bukayo Saka, the three players who missed England's penalties on Sunday, were the victims of a stream of abuse on Twitter and Instagram.