THE SKY IS FALLING!
At least that has been the feeling among Liverpool fans all week.
Heading into today’s game at Anfield against a strong AFC Bournemouth squad, Liverpool needed a convincing victory to reestablish their place atop the Premier League table as well as build confidence heading into their Champions League Round of 16 match against Bayern Munich.
After a sloppy start, they certainly delivered, winning 3-0 in a game that could’ve easily been a five or six goal victory.
Jurgen Klopp (7) – Scroll through Liverpool’s Instagram account and you’ll notice lots of “WTF SERIOUSLY” with Klopp inserting Naby Keita into the starting XI again. Maybe he feels like building Keita’s confidence is important, or perhaps Keita looks great in training, but whatever the reason Klopp seems committed.
Liverpool needs to pour goals on in their remaining games in case the title comes down to differential, and Klopp had his strong attacking more and more as the match went on.
Liverpool’s set pieces looked a little more creative for a change.
And while it would’ve been nice to see Trent Alexander-Arnold subbed into midfield while up 3-0 to see if that could unlock more of an attack, but Klopp’s subbing was fine.
Overall, good job by Klopp though making sure Liverpool did not stumble any further.
Alisson (7) – Was challenged and came up with a critical stop early, helping steady the squad. The few opportunities he did face after that he did well to stop. Another clean sheet for the Brazilian.
James Milner (6.5) – Likely his last start at RB for the returning Trent Alexander-Arnold, he did well stifling Bournemouth on the flank while helping build-from-the-back on attack. Moved to midfield after TAA came in, was involved and active.
Virgil van Dijk (6) – A positive step in the right direction. VVD was more organized than against West Ham and more confident on ball.
Joel Matip (6) – Also much better than against West Ham, Matip got himself forward often and made some great feeds (particularly a beauty in the 33rd minute) from the back.
Andrew Robertson (9) – Solidifying his status as the best LB in the world, Robbo’s perfect dime led to the Georginio Wijnaldum goal. Among Liverpool’s starters, his technical proficiency (always a positive first touch, always brings even the most difficult balls down) is the most consistent, as well as his general effort.
Fabinho (7) – Fitting in so much better than his summer transfer partner Keita, Fabinho found the right channels to deliver perfectly weighted passes throughout the game. Solid defensively on challenges as well.
Georginio Wijnaldum (8) – Welcome back, Gini! The Dutchman was solid in his defensive CM role and scored a creative flick goal off Robertson’s inbound pass. If Liverpool are to challenge for a Champions League title again, they’ll need more of this attacking verion of Wijnaldum.
Roberto Firmino (6) – Way too sluggish in the opening 15-20 minutes, he started looking like the Bobby all Liverpool fans know and love in the second half. His pass to Salah in the 48th minute was perfect, and he got more confident and creative as the game went on.
Sadio Mane (7) – Oddly, not as all-around of a good performance as against West Ham, but his header to start scoring was as clean and strong as you’ll see. Also, nary a heavy touch all game.
Mohamed Salah (8) – As poor as he was in the first half of the first half, he was equally as impressive after that. Salah was a constant threat in the second half, playing an increasingly blazing pace as the game progressed. A confident strike for his goal, taking the lead to 3-0. Nearly missed a brace with an absolute bullet off the crossbar.
Trent Alexander-Arnold (6) – A welcome return from injury, TAA came on without skipping a beat. Nearly scored off a Firmino pass but Scott Sterling’d the goalie.
Divock Origi (N/R) – On late for Mane, tried to create an opportunity late but fell in the box.
Daniel Sturridge (N/R) – A time-wasting stoppage sub.
Check back on February 19th for Liverpool player ratings vs. Bayern Munich