Salah treble rocks Bournemouth as Liverpool moves to the top

- Agence France-Presse, Bournemouth

Dec 9, 2018-

Liverpool delivered a clear sign it intends to push Manchester City all the way in the Premier League with an emphatic 4-0 victory at Bournemouth on Saturday that was capped by a hat-trick from Mohamed Salah.

This victory, the Reds’ fifth consecutive league win, secured with the additional help of a Steve Cook own-goal, extended Jurgen Klopp’s side’s unbeaten start to the league season. It also moved the club one point ahead of City at the top of the table. Salah’s contribution was central to Liverpool’s success—the Egyptian has struggled to match his outstanding levels of last season but with 10 league goals to his name, he is now hitting his stride.

He may have benefited from a close offside decision for the 25th-minute opener that gave Liverpool a half-time lead, but the finishes for his two second-half goals were outstanding. Overall, Liverpool manager Klopp could be satisfied with the manner in which his side eased their way to victory ahead of the midweek Champions League meeting with Napoli.

Bournemouth’s hopes of halting Liverpool’s progress suffered a blow when Callum Wilson, the England international who has scored eight league goals this season, was ruled out with a hamstring injury. The home side certainly felt Wilson’s absence during the periods of the game when it pushed Liverpool onto the back foot.

But defensive errors, combined with a dubious offside decision for the opening goal, meant it had little chance to impose itself on a Liverpool side which never had to find top gear to secure three points. The opening period suggested Klopp’s side would again have to work hard for victory. Salah and Roberto Firmino took time to make an impact, with the Egyptian spurning the first real chance of the game when he sliced wide from close range. And had David Brooks shown more composure when he was sent clear on Liverpool’s goal in the 24th minute, the early momentum would have been in favour of the home side.

As it was, Liverpool responded immediately, taking control with some help from the assistant referee. Salah and Firmino combined well 25 metres out, before the Brazilian fired in a shot at keeper Asmir Begovic. The Bosnia international should have done better than parry the ball into the middle of the penalty area, allowing Salah to react first and fire high into the net from close range.

Eddie Howe’s players pointed out that Salah had been in an offside position but their complaints were dismissed, although TV replays suggested they had a case. From that point in the game, Liverpool tightened their grip, particularly after the restart.

 

Published: 09-12-2018 09:13

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