While Eddie Howe’s side didn’t offer much resistance, the encounter still served up plenty of food for thought.
ALEXANDER-ARNOLD RIGHT BACK INTO CONTENTION
With Nathaniel Clyne enduring an injury-ravaged season, Jurgen Klopp has spent much of this term alternating between Joe Gomez and Trent Alexander-Arnold in that right-back spot. In recent times though, the latter has appeared to establish himself in that role.
Alexander-Arnold has steadily grown in confidence with each appearance in the senior outfit and was hugely impressive against Bournemouth. In fact, his form may even force himself into Gareth Southgate’s England plans for the World Cup.
The 19-year-old has certainly proved he can handle the big occasion after his stellar performances over two legs against Manchester City in the Champions League and was a potent attacking threat again as Liverpool entertained Bournemouth at Anfield.
The full-back should’ve chalked up an assist in the first half when his vicious delivery into the box was put wide by Salah while he had the confidence to step up and test Asmir Begovic with a free-kick as well. It was his cross that Mane forced a save from Begovic off before turning in the rebound.
He finally got his assist when Salah headed in another one of his sumptuous crosses from the right.
STILL MANE ENOUGH
Mane’s only drawback this season is that he hasn’t been able to keep pace with Salah. Given that the Egyptian has outrun most in Europe and is neck-and-neck with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, his Liverpool team-mate can be forgiven for not matching him stride for stride.
In actual fact, this has been Mane’s finest season in English football. He has 16 goals and eight assists in the Premier League and Champions League. He was excellent again in the win over Bournemouth with his strike making him the highest-scoring Senegalese player in the history of the Premier League with 44 goals to his name.
If not for the phenomenal Salah, Mane would be the one the Anfield faithful sing about this term. Perhaps he’s earned a few more chants.
SALAH ALWAYS WANTS MO
Harry Kane is as goal-hungry as they come but even he will struggle to match the appetite Salah has shown in front of goal this season. The Egyptian didn’t have it all his own way against Bournemouth as his finishing seemed to have evaded him and he resorted to a few pot shots into the second half.
The point though is that he kept at it and never let his head drop. He’s consistently likened to Messi given his diminutive stature and favoured left side but he shares the same relentless nature as Ronaldo.
He tried everything to get on the score sheet, dropping deep, swapping flanks, going through the middle and then some. He eventually got his reward with a rare header that he appeared especially proud of. He now has 30 goals in the Premier League this season and 40 overall. Kane may need a few more appeals if he’s going to catch the Liverpool star.
Liverpool cruised to a 3-0 win over Bournemouth with each member of their famed attacking triumvirate getting on the score sheet at Anfield.
Here are our Liverpool player ratings:
Loris Karius – 6: Almost didn’t need that post-match shower. Just the one save to make, getting a few specks of dirt on his otherwise pristine gloves.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 9: Top performance from the right-back. Should’ve had three assists to his name, ended up with one. Growing in stature with every game.
Dejan Lovren – 7: Starting to look like he could forge a formidable partnership alongside Van Dijk.
Virgil van Dijk – 8: Commanded the back-line and dealt with most of which invaded his penalty box. Had a rasping shot at goal that fizzed over.
Andrew Robertson – 7: Couldn’t match the quality produced by his fellow full-back but was an attacking threat nonetheless.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – 8: Consistently drove forward from midfield. His energy was key to Liverpool breaking into the final third. Set up Firmino’s goal.
Georginio Wijnaldum – 5: Quiet outing for the Dutchman. Didn’t get on the ball enough.
Jordan Henderson – 6: Anchored midfield and kept it all ticking over. Receive, distribute, repeat.
Sadio Mane – 8: Was the chief threat for Liverpool in the first half and made the breakthrough. A chipped pass in behind for Salah was another highlight of a fine performance.
Mohamed Salah – 8: No way Salah was leaving the pitch without a goal to his name. He kept plugging away and eventually bagged his 40th of the season in all competitions. He’s relentless, always wanting Mo. Good luck, Harry Kane.
Roberto Firmino – 7: Worked hard in that front line but didn’t seem to have the finishing touch until he hit the target at the death, albeit owing to some rather lax goalkeeping.
Ragnar Klavan – N/A: Replaced Lovren in the closing stages who wasn’t moving very well.
James Milner – N/A: Saw out the final 10 minutes after being introduced in place of Mane.
Dominic Solanke – N/A: Replaced Firmino in stoppage time.
Youth team players Conor Masterson (19), Curtis Jones and Rafael Camacho (both 17) have been training with the first team and were unused substitutes for last weekend’s Merseyside derby as Jurgen Klopp looked to manage his injury-depleted squad in between the European quarter-final against Manchester City.
But with a last-four Champions League tie coming and a maximum of eight points from five matches required to secure a top-four Premier League finish under-23 coach Neil Critchley hopes some of his players may get a first team debut before the end of the campaign.
“We were hoping one of them would get on the pitch but maybe, between now and the end of the season, if they train well that opportunity might arise for them,” he said ahead of Monday’s derby against Everton at Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium.
“It is well publicised there are injury problems at the moment and if you get your chance by default so be it.
“Suddenly you get the manager thinking about you differently and you have to grasp that opportunity because it might not come around again.
“Don’t go to Melwood and make the numbers up, don’t go as a tourist, you’re there to do a job and you need to make sure you get noticed.
“The way the season progresses, with those two Champions League games coming up and if we can be in the top four guaranteed, then maybe the manager thinks ‘If they’ve done well in training, they might get an opportunity’.
“They’ve got to be ready for it.”
Toxteth-born Jones is the great local hope and has played for both Steven Gerrard’s under-18s and the under-23s this season.
Critchley urged caution on expecting too much too soon but admits the youngster has a certain X-factor.
“When young players come through you see they have something about them, bordering on arrogance at times,” he added.
“He knows there are boundaries here, what is acceptable and unacceptable, and those are the things he will have to iron out in his game when he is older.
“But he is still very young so he has loads of time and the exposure he’s getting around the first team will be invaluable for him.”
Provided by PA Sport