returned to the top of the Premier League with a composed display at Anfield that sent Bournemouth to an eighth successive away defeat.

Three days after moved top on goal difference, Jurgen Klopp’s side responded in emphatic style to talk that the pressure of a title race was showing in their performances.

After a cagey opening in which Ryan Fraser tested goalkeeper Alisson, Sadio Mane settled any nerves by powerfully heading home ’s cross.

Mane, who looked fractionally offside, has now scored in four successive Premier League games for the first time.

Georginio Wijnaldum had not been allowed to stay in the hotel on Friday because of illness but he was in fine form, doubling the lead with a sublime lob over the helpless Artur Boruc.

Moments after the break, Naby Keita and Roberto Firmino combined in a move Klopp called “world class” to present with a simple finish from 10 yards, his 20th goal in all competitions this season.

Klopp’s side never looked in danger of losing their lead and moved on to 65 points, a tally which would have been enough for at least a nine-point lead at the same stage of the title race in any of the past five seasons.

Key trio finding form?

Naby Keita had one of his best games in a Liverpool shirt. The midfielder had 120 touches - a game high. He probed and played 63 passes in the Bournemouth half - also a game high - and completed 91% of his passes in all.

Questions had been asked of the ability of Klopp’s side to cope with the pressure of a title race after successive draws.

But here they crushed any hope Bournemouth might have had after a solid opening quarter, and Eddie Howe’s side never looked capable of testing the nerve of the home side once they went behind.

While Mane and Salah again got in the goals, Firmino’s use of the ball was impressive throughout, never more so than when his superb flick sent Salah into the box after half-time, allowing the Egyptian to coolly round off a fine team move.

Salah later rattled the bar from a delightful Firmino reverse-pass and only needs one more goal to reach 50 in the Premier League. Having played in only 62 matches, he looks set to beat Alan Shearer’s record of reaching the mark in 66 games for a single club.

In all, had 20 shots, with Mane guilty of missing a free header from 10 yards after the break and Firmino somehow wasting a chance when one-on-one with the keeper late on.

Are showing nerves? This result suggests not, though Bournemouth’s lack of attacking ambition in a 4-4-1-1 system provided little for the home side to think about.

But the sight of Trent Alexander-Arnold coming off the bench to end a spell of injury will please Klopp, while his forward line of Firmino, Salah and Mane have now been responsible for 14 of the Reds’ last 15 goals in the Premier League.

If are to end their 29-year wait for a league title, that trio will need to maintain such form.

Patched-up confusion for Howe

Salah's goal was described as "world class" by Jurgen Klopp after fine build-up play

Bournemouth will look to Alisson’s solid diving save from Fraser early on as evidence they were briefly in this game.

Their defensive set-up looked to be working, with the lack of space on offer between their back four and midfield five proving problematic for their hosts.

But when Mane got across the near post to head home, they simply looked confused as to how to respond.

Given their healthy mid-table status, they had little to lose but still opted for caution.

Without the goals and creativity of the injured Callum Wilson and David Brooks, they were devoid of ideas and looked like a side used to losing on the road.

They have now been beaten in eight consecutive away league matches for the first time since March 1984, when they were in the third tier.

The defeat means only bottom side Huddersfield and second-bottom Fulham – on 48 and 58 respectively – have conceded more than the 47 goals the Cherries have leaked this season.

Where next in the title race?

Between now and the end of March…
(65 points)Man City (62 points) (57 points)
Man Utd (a) (h)Leicester (h)
Watford (h) (h)Burnley (a)
Everton (a)Bournemouth (a) (a)
Burnley (h)Watford (h) (h)
Fulham (a)Man Utd (a) (a)
(h)Fulham (a)Crystal Palace (h)

If are feeling any nerves at this point, the run-in looks set to be a fraught one. Bookmakers make rivals fractionally favourites at 10-11, with close behind at even money.

In their remaining 13 matches, City host , travel to rivals Manchester United and entertain .

must play the same three sides but have the added challenge of an away Merseyside derby to contend with.

And face , and in the run-in, with a north London derby against thrown in for good measure.

City reached 100 points in 2017-18 and, at the current pace, it seems this year’s title winners will need to post a points mark in the 90s if they are to prevail.

Man of the match – Georginio Wijnaldum

Georginio Wijnaldum missed the draw at West Ham on Monday and his contribution was obvious as he made bursts from midfield to join attacks in the opening 45 minutes. His goal was of superb quality and he completed 91% of his passes before being taken off on 77 minutes. All of this is more impressive when consideration is given to the fact he was feeling unwell on Friday and could not stay in the team hotel.

Fortress Anfield – Key stats

  • have only lost one of their 15 competitive matches against Bournemouth, winning 11 (D3)
  • are unbeaten in their last 34 Premier League home games, winning 24 and drawing 10
  • ’s has provided more assists in this Premier League season (4 in 21 apps) than he did in the 2017-18 campaign (3 in 32 apps).
  • Since his debut in August 2017, has assisted more Premier League goals (11) than any other defender.

‘We have to convince’ – what the managers said…

manager Jurgen Klopp speaking to Match of the Day: “We were not happy with the performances from the previous two games and struggled a bit with set-pieces. There were a lot of things we had to improve.

“We have high expectations and today we won in an impressive manner – we had some outstanding performances on the pitch. Goal number three was world class.

“We wanted to show a reaction. It’s our job not only to come through but to really perform and convince.”

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe: “I thought were very good but we didn’t really deal with their main threats.

“The first goal was offside but we never really recovered. We pride ourselves in never quitting. We lived on the edge a little bit but looked more of a threat in the second half.

“We had some moments early in the match. We looked fine until that first goal went in.”

Up next?

Both sides have a weekend off next week, with facing Bayern Munich in the Champions League last-16 on Tuesday, 19 February and Bournemouth facing Wolves at home four days later.


  • 13Alisson
  • 7Milner
  • 32MatipBooked at 61mins
  • 4van Dijk
  • 26RobertsonBooked at 87mins
  • 5WijnaldumSubstituted forAlexander-Arnoldat 77′minutes
  • 3Fabinho
  • 8Keita
  • 11Salah
  • 9Roberto FirminoSubstituted forSturridgeat 90′minutes
  • 10ManéSubstituted forOrigiat 87′minutes


  • 14Henderson
  • 15Sturridge
  • 20Lallana
  • 22Mignolet
  • 27Origi
  • 64Camacho
  • 66Alexander-Arnold


  • 1Boruc
  • 15A SmithBooked at 38mins
  • 3S Cook
  • 5Aké
  • 21RicoBooked at 25minsSubstituted forMephamat 80′minutes
  • 10IbeSubstituted forSolankeat 59′minutes
  • 4Gosling
  • 8LermaSubstituted forMoussetat 73′minutes
  • 6Surman
  • 24Fraser
  • 17King


  • 9Mousset
  • 25Simpson
  • 27Begovic
  • 28Taylor
  • 29Solanke
  • 33Mepham
  • 44Surridge
Anthony Taylor

Match Stats

Home TeamAway TeamBournemouth
Shots on Target

Live Text

Match ends, 3, Bournemouth 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, 3, Bournemouth 0.

Attempt missed. Dominic Solanke (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left. Assisted by Andrew Surman.

Offside, . Daniel Sturridge tries a through ball, but is caught offside.


Substitution, . Daniel Sturridge replaces Roberto Firmino.

Attempt saved. Trent Alexander-Arnold () right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Roberto Firmino with a through ball.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Fabinho.


Substitution, . Divock Origi replaces Sadio Mané.


Andrew Robertson () is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Andrew Robertson ().

Adam Smith (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Roberto Firmino () right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Andrew Robertson.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Virgil van Dijk.

Foul by Naby Keita ().

Dan Gosling (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Corner, . Conceded by Steve Cook.

Corner, . Conceded by Andrew Surman.


Substitution, Bournemouth. Chris Mepham replaces Diego Rico.

Attempt missed. Naby Keita () right footed shot from the centre of the box is too high.

Attempt blocked. Roberto Firmino () right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by .

Attempt blocked. Nathan Aké (Bournemouth) header from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Diego Rico with a cross.

Corner, Bournemouth. Conceded by Alisson.

Attempt saved. Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the right side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Ryan Fraser.


Substitution, . Trent Alexander-Arnold replaces Georginio Wijnaldum.

() hits the bar with a left footed shot from the right side of the box. Assisted by Roberto Firmino.

Attempt missed. Andrew Surman (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right.

Diego Rico (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt missed. Lys Mousset (Bournemouth) right footed shot from outside the box misses to the right. Assisted by Dominic Solanke with a headed pass.


Substitution, Bournemouth. Lys Mousset replaces Jefferson Lerma.

Foul by Naby Keita ().

Dan Gosling (Bournemouth) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Delay over. They are ready to continue.

Delay in match Adam Smith (Bournemouth) because of an injury.

Attempt blocked. Adam Smith (Bournemouth) right footed shot from the right side of the box is blocked.


Joel Matip () is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Joel Matip ().

Ryan Fraser (Bournemouth) wins a free kick on the left wing.



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