Liverpool looks to get their swagger back at home against Bournemouth.
Jurgen Klopp goes with his strongest available XI. However, Andy Robertson gets a “precautionary” off day as James Milner starts in his place.
And the game starts with the same casual nonsense that has plagued the team since the winter break. Liverpool allow an easy goal to Bournemouth (after a debatable foul against Joe Gomez) in the 9th minute. I haven’t heard Liverpool so quiet since — actually I don’t know — 2015? This is bad.
While Eddie Howe officially is playing a 4-1-4-1 the reality is it’s a 9-0-1. Bus is parked.
Can we replace our throw in coach with a passing coach? What’s happening?
Despite some really awful link up play from the front three, Mo Salah equalizers in the 25th minute with a great finish. Sadio Mane clinically finishes eight minutes later and Liverpool go to the half up 2-1.
But it still doesn’t feel right.
The game ends 2-1. Liverpool set a home win record at 22 straight. But nobody feels good about the team right now. Anfield is quiet. The squad is lifeless save Milner, Salah, and Mane. Get this fixed and go on your Reds.
Here are Liverpool vs Bournemouth player ratings.
Liverpool Player Ratings
Jurgen Klopp (2) –
As expected, goes with his best available XI. Let’s see if he gets the boys sharp and ready for this one. Listen, Klopp is the best manager in the world. We’re lucky to have him. But it’s time to start questioning his last month. Clearly took the winter break too casually. It’s hurt the squad. He hasn’t picked the intensity up. He hasn’t gotten the front three crisper. The backline needs fixing. He waited entirely too long to sub this match. Klopp needs to rethink things. He always gets it right eventually–but this has gone on too long.
Adrian (5) –
Big week coming up for the back-up keeper. Opener not on him and reacts well to deflect a corner away in 14th minute. Still, shaky moments and clearances throughout. Hurry back, Ali.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (4) –
You know things are off when TAA can’t even get a corner kick in play. Just not looking sharp right now.
Virgil van Dijk (5) –
Just too casual in defending still. Not organizing well. However, does dispossess and feeds Mane a perfect through ball for the assist on Liverpool’s second goal. Regardless, it’s little things like poorly cleared headers that shows VVD just isn’t locked in right now. Long balls like his delivery to Salah in the 58th are sailing 10 yards longer than they would if he was more focused.
Joe Gomez (5) –
Gets shoved in back and waits for a call, which opens up space for Bournemouth to score opener. Needed to just play on. Steadies as the game goes on, but needs to be better.
James Milner (8) –
Doing well going forward. Nice attempted volley in the 37th. Defending well. Incredible goal line clearance in the 61st saves a goal. Yes, underscoring how bad everyone feels about our form right now–it does nothing to energize the crowd. Milner among the few bright spots today.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (5) –
Would be good to see some creativity from him in midfield leading up to the Atletico Madrid match. Just isn’t really making an impact. At a time when the squad needs to see more–he gives a “just ok” performance. Few shots on goal and completed dribbles but never a threat. Subbed off in the 84th for Lallana.
Gini Wijnaldum (5) –
One of the few Reds playing with real intensity early. Aggressive and purposeful runs. So of course he gets knocked in the head by Ake and goes off the pitch for bit. Doesn’t quite have the same intensity when he comes back on. Super quiet.
Fabinho (4) –
Poor form of late. If Jordan Henderson were fit, not sure Fab gets the nod. Touch is off. Passes are off. Lazy, casual defending on counter leads to a quality shot on target in the 39th. Needs to sit out. Put Lallana in.
Mo Salah (8) –
Can’t even connect simple passes. Link up play is so bad. However, GREAT finish in the 25th the level the game. He becomes the second Liverpool player to score 20 goals across all competitions for 3 straight years. His work rate continues to be fantastic even if his crispness is off.
Give Liverpool a chance, and they’ll take it ⚡️— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) March 7, 2020
Mo Salah scores an equalizer 🔴 pic.twitter.com/IVncqcZvwn
Anyway, worked his ass off all match. Could’ve had an assist late to Firmino.
Sadio Mane (8) –
Dancing with the ball and active, but passing atrocious. Is lucky to get the assist on the Salah goal, his ball in was turrrible. However, great, clinical finish in 33rd to put Liverpool up. An absurd strike in the 74th minute hits the woodwork and denies him a brace. What a blast though.
Roberto Firmino (3) –
Great movement to get open and get shot off in 17th. Awful movement to not collect a pass from Salah on the counter in the 33rd. However, the sequence leads to Mane’s goal so all is forgiven. In general though, looks a step slow. Dispossession in the box in the 54th minute a prime example of that. Utterly flubs a perfect ball in from Salah in the 91st. Worst game I’ve maybe ever seen him play.
Adam Lallana (NR) – The first sub on in the 84th of Ox. Deserving too, as he was among the few bright spots vs Chelsea. Passing and movement immediately looks better with him on pitch. Don’t be surprised if he’s a surprise starter vs Atleti.
Divock Origi (NR) – On in stoppage for Firmino. Should’ve come on earlier for him.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Want to give it to Milner for caring, or Salah for his work rate, but Mane with a goal, nearly a second, and an (undeserved assist) gets the nod.