The Reds were sluggish in their previous two displays, but mustered a much more fluid performance against Eddie Howe’s side to return to the top of the table.
First-half goals from Sadio Mane and Gini Wijnaldum before a third by Mohamed Salah in the second half were enough for Liverpool as they picked up their 20th win of the league.
Here are three talking points from the game:
Naby Keita answers his critics
Keita was given his preferred role in midfield as Liverpool switched to their 4-3-3, and the former RB Leipzig star put in a complete performance in midfield.
After a shaky first half followed by a more composed second-half display against West Ham United last Monday, the Keita divided opinion amongst the Liverpool fans.
Keita put in a dynamite display in the Liverpool midfield three earlier today, and finished with an assist under his name.
The Guinean had 10 ball recoveries, and was solid with his passing, having mustered a pass accuracy of 91%. He also drove forward with purpose and combined well with the likes of Firmino and Mane.
Liverpool’s return to the 4-3-3 set-up does the trick
The previous displays were a bit lethargic, which was surprising considering the Reds had more than a week to recharge their batteries. Salah, in particular, looked out of sorts, and even Firmino wasn’t at his usual best in stitching the play together.
The switch to the 4-3-3 allowed Salah more touches on the ball, and a run at the Bournemouth left-back. The Egyptian had a bigger influence on the game, and his presence on the right allowed the Reds to stretch play more efficiently and thereby make it hard for Bournemouth.
Salah’s presence on the right meant allowed James Milner to maraud forward as Bournemouth just couldn’t risk not marking the Egyptian and were cautious on the wings. Milner, of course, provided the cross for Mane’s goal.
In the midfield, Wijnaldum’s return was a big boost as the Dutchman played a key role in making the forward forays and recycle possession. He finished the game with a delightful goal as well.
Liverpool were good, but should have scored more
Bournemouth had no answers to the Reds’ more fluid approach, and quite frankly, it was a surprise the game finished with just the 3-0 scoreline in favour of the hosts.
Howe’s side like attacking and don’t sit back, and they tried exactly that in the second half as Liverpool had quite a lot of chances to add more gloss to the final score.
Salah hit the post late on, but the Reds just weren’t clinical enough as Mane and Keita missed glaring goalscoring opportunities in the second half.
Liverpool returned to the top of the table, but City still have the advantage when it comes to goal difference. A bigger scoreline might have helped the Reds on that, even though it’s still their race to lose.