It was definitely a red dominated game at Bournemouth v Liverpool on Saturday. Any Liverpool fan can see that Mo Salah has had a tough start to the season. Last year, Salah could do no wrong. He just touched the ball and it seemed to fall into the back of the net. However, this season, so far, not so much. There has been concern over his form and all, but this weekend he put paid to that. Based on what we saw on Saturday, he’s coming back – and with bells. The Liverpool top guy finished the game with the match ball under his arm – and a hat-trick under his belt.
The Salah hat-trick really was an impressive one. The first goal was question marked by some, with some stating that Salah was slightly off-side; however, there was no doubting on the second two at all. The last goal saw the Bournemouth goalie, Asmir Begovic, sitting on his backside. Meanwhile, the Bournemouth players could just watch open mouthed as Steve Cook fell behind and Nathan Ake could just be an observer as Salah managed to left foot the ball into the net and seal the deal for the reds.
However, the game by then was already over. Liverpool had destroyed their opponents and Bournemouth were just trying to limit the overall damage done. They may have had problems with Salah’s first goal, but, the rest could not be argued with. Not only did the Liverpool attach come on strong, but the Bournemouth defence was desperately lacking – and some very questionable play led to the drubbing.
Salah Up for a Fight
Salah was certainly up for a fight and was definitely ready to make the team play for any mistakes. This time he played in a more central role beside Firmino and was set to torment the Bournemouth defence, especially Cook who had a tough match. Not only was he responsible for the embarrassing own goal, but it was also his error which led to Salah’s second; he also lost the ball to Salah who then went on to score his third. In fact, Cook did attempt to take Salah down before the second goal; however, that didn’t work either; Salah managed to stay on his feet and bop the ball into the net. When asked on this, Eddie Howe said: “We struggled to handle him… he’s one of the best in the world in my opinion.”
Klopp’s Liverpool Pride
When questioned on his team, Klopp was fully in agreement with the Bournemouth manager and said this: “Whatever you do in a game, you need someone to finish it off… What Mo did around his two goals in the second half was just exceptional. I don’t know a lot of players who would have scored those two goals. The first one is a foul [on him] but he wants to score the goal so stays on his feet. His third goal is outstanding again.”
This impressive win couldn’t have come at a better time for the reds, who are preparing for a very important Champions League game on Tuesday night, where they take on Napoli. This is a make or break game for the team as their place in the knockout stages hangs by a thread. They need to get this away win are their Champions League dream is all over for another year. This game is a massive boost to the ego, as it has taken them top of the table, aided very much by Man City’s loss against Chelsea.
Bournemouth on the ropes
So far, the Premier League hasn’t dished up any defeats for the reds, however, the same can’t be said for Bournemouth. They struggled in the game and Howe stated that the first goal was unfortunate, but the second “seemed to knock the stuffing out of us”.
Looking at Cook in particular, he struggled in every area. Firstly, he gave possession away to Firmino with a bad pass. He was also lucky that Salah stayed on his feet after a very dodgy tackle, which could have seen him carded; the Salah put the goal away and no one could do anything about it.
Obviously, Howe was upset with the first goal. Goalie, Begovic, spilt the ball after a Firmino shot; Salah was on this spill like a flash and netted it, despite being offside. However, the linesman kept the flag down and the goal was allowed. This put Bournemouth on the back foot from then on. Howe says that he believes that the first goal had a huge bearing on the game and that up til then they were okay. However, is he just making excuses?
Callum Wilson Missed?
Callum Wilson had been ruled out of the game with a hamstring injury; his absence clearly hurt Bournemouth. However, their defence was as harmful to them as Liverpool’s attack. After their first goal, which could have been prevented without a goalie spill. There was also the unfortunate incident of Cook back footing Andre Roberson’s cross into his own net. Cook later tried to make a sliding tackle to get the ball away from Sala, but only managed to gift the ball right to him, as then Salah single handedly took on all defence to net his second, then his third – Liverpool’s third and fourth.
What’s coming up?
So, what about the upcoming fixtures? Liverpool have a tougher match next though as the weekend sees them tale on Mourinho’s Man United. They go in as favourites with odds of 4/7 at Coral, although Man Utd could be worth a shot at 9/2. Check out our tips for the match alongside the best odds around.