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Football News: Bournemouth v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective

Bournemouth v Liverpool - A Liverpool Perspective
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Bournemouth v Liverpool A Liverpool Perspective

 

An almost total dominance of possession and an overwhelming, well-deserved win. Bournemouth had no answer to Liverpool's play, which was sensational at times. Howe's decision to play with a high line was really inviting trouble, especially with a defender as sluggish as Cook and a defender as positionally poor and sloppy as Ake. That cost them time and time again.

They were trying to squeeze the play and put pressure on Liverpool as high up the pitch as possible, but it just left them open to a ball over the top, so their defence was constantly backpedalling swiftly to deal with runs behind. That left a gap, as the midfield was not reacting to the defence dropping off and Liverpool constantly played the ball in to that huge space.

Some of the play was fantastic, fast, flowing, one-touch mingled with some nutmegs and touches of skill from the likes of Keita and Firmino, as well as a superlative performance from Salah. And then to give his man of the match award to Milner as it was his 500th appearance shows the measure of the man after he got a hat-trick. Most pleasing of all was the clear upping of intensity in the play. The ball was being moved quicker, while ensuring the defensive platform remained solid.

It has to be said, Howe was complicit in the defeat, he is constantly bigged up as the English Guardiola, and they claim he has this great eye for tactical detail, but he constantly gets his tactics wrong. It is this which holds Bournemouth back. He has improved the organisation over the last few seasons, also improved their use of 'the dark arts' of football too, instead of being too nice as they were previously. There is still a lot more he could do though, which he is not doing at the moment.

The ref surprised me, he was seeing a lot of nasty stuff, such as the studs raked down Salah's calf and Achilles by Cook, but not doing anything about it. That should really have seen at least a yellow, as it was deliberate, and could have been a red on another day, but the referee merely gave the goal and did not go back to it after the goal was scored. The officials were poor, which was to Liverpool's advantage on the first goal when Salah was offside, but that does not make it right. They are highly paid and should be doing better.

One more thing that has to be mentioned, and that I took account of when giving out my ratings, was the difficulty in dealing with the conditions. So many times the ball was caught by the wind and it made it really hard work to cope with anything above head height. That was a real problem for defenders and there were a number of times clearances got lashed wildly up in the air as players were unable to adjust in time to a gust that altered the ball's trajectory.

 


Howe - completely outmatched tactically as his team were dominated from start to finish and every tweak he tried had little to no effect on the game. The Cherries have clearly taken some forward steps under him, they are much better organised than in the past and they are becoming well versed in the dark arts of defending. However Howe still lacks tactical acumen, though he is learning and has dropped the back three he tried against the big clubs last season, after it failed miserably.

Unfortunately for Bournemouth, he has not found a solution to the problem of getting results against the big clubs, but he is getting closer. Rating: 5.

 

Begovic - made a big error for the first goal and was embarrassed by Salah, as the Egyptian beat him with skill. Looks a shadow of the keeper he was at Stoke City. Gone is the command of the area and the consistency in his game. Now he barely looks Premier League level, from being one of the better keepers in the league. Rating: 3.

 

Francis - I have no idea how Francis still gets in their team as anything other than emergency cover in an injury crisis. Yes he tries, but he is completely out of his depth and gets exposed time and time again. Rating: 3.

 

Cook - he is not helped by having Francis alongside him, but Cook is a real weak link in their team. The only thing he seemed to offer them yesterday, of value, was an ability to get away with fouls. Cook makes far too many errors, not just on the ball, but in positioning as well. Rating: 2.

 

Ake - the lad himself has said he is a midfielder and wants to play there, and I can see why as he is not a defender by any stretch of the imagination. Wholly reliant on recovery pace, as his positioning and reading of the game are poor. Yes he is good on the ball in the back line, but it comes at the expense of the team being able to defend as a unit. Rating: 3.5.

 

Daniels - another one that tries but is not really up to scratch. He does offer a good left peg, if he can get in the right areas, which makes him a danger with crosses and shots. Bournemouth did not see enough of the ball in the right areas for him to offer anything against Liverpool. Instead his weaknesses in the defensive third were woefully exposed. Rating: 4.

 

Brooks - one of the few players in their team, in this game anyway as Wilson was out injured and they badly missed him, that looked Premier League quality. Has a lovely touch and causes problems, especially as he has a tendency to use his slight build to draw free kicks by falling over at the slightest brush and fooling referees. His ability to carry the ball and cause havoc was their only real threat. Rating: 7.

 

Lerma - another one who goes down very easily, despite being one of the more 'robust' tacklers on the pitch. He certainly does not hold back from giving away a foul and kicking opponents when he gets the chance. Lerma does have a very strong defensive presence, breaking up attacks very well, but is a little loose in possession. Rating: 6.5.

 

Surman - too slow, too poor on the ball and too lacking in reading of the game to be of much use. Simply not good enough at this level and he got lost and swamped in midfield. Rating: 4.

 

Stanislas - struggled to get any involvement in the game, offered little when he did get the ball. Rating: 4.

 

Fraser - worked hard, tries his all but lacked in the ability needed to genuinely threaten, even when up against the makeshift right back Milner. Rating: 5.

 

King - blisteringly quick but he is far too busy tugging on shirts to actually make use of his pace. I have no idea when he became so intent on swapping shirts mid-game, but it seems to be his only ploy now. If he had put as much effort into getting on the ball and using it, he might have offered some threat. Rating: 2.5.

 

Subs:

Mousset - replaced Brooks in the 65th minute. Did little as he barely got to see the ball, let alone use it. Rating: 5.

Rico - brought on in the 83rd minute in place of Daniels. Howe tried to change the system in the hope of getting on the ball a bit more, going to a back 3 and putting Rico as one of the wing backs, but it did not help. Rating: 4.5.

Mings - brought on in 83rd minute to replace Barnes. Went into a back three but never really got himself sorted or involved. Rating: 5.

 


Klopp - seemed to get pretty much every call right, from the choice to take the risk to rest Alexander-Arnold and put Milner at right back, to the substitutions. The game was almost too easy. The most difficult opponent was the weather, if anything. Rating: 8.

 

Alisson - a save, an excellent clearing header on the edge of the box, Alisson was underworked but did what he needed to when it mattered. Another clean sheet to equal the record for least goals conceded after 16 games of a Premier League season just shows how important he has been to the team. Rating: 8.

 

Milner - Klopp said he would have played anywhere to make his 500th appearance and that sums up his attitude. Once again he was an example to all with his workrate and play. While he was never really put under sustained pressure, the little real pressure he did face was dealt with well. His one real mistake led to the headed clearance by Alisson, so even that gave us all something to enjoy! Rating: 8.

 

Matip - dealt with the little threat Bournemouth possessed well. I could pick little holes in his performance but I think he deserves a pass for tiny errors as his overall game was good. Rating: 7.5.

 

van Dijk - once again he was commanding and dominating. Not a lot more that can be said after a game like that. Rating: 8.

 

Robertson - a couple of dodgy moments more than made up for by his overall performance and hard work. It is a huge crowd pleaser when he races around applying pressure on the opposing players before they can settle on the ball. More than that, it often causes them to make mistakes and gets the ball back from the team. Also good to see him putting the ball into the box in dangerous areas, which led to the second goal from his cross. Rating: 8.

 

Wijnaldum - not one of his better games, though he did have flashes of good play. He needs to be braver, he could be a game changer in the way Keita can be, especially when not in the deepest midfield role. That is what we need to see from him, driving runs, being there to pick up the ball and attack the opposition before looking to play a throughball or one two. Most of all he needs to shoot more, there are whole games going by when he is not even attempting a shot on goal. Rating: 6.

 

Keita - that double nutmeg alone was worth watching the game for. While the rest of his performance failed to quite live up to that early promise, he did play well. There were a couple of times he chased back and won the ball, as well as the work he did on the ball. Having him coming into his own, just as the season starts to enter the tough Christmas period, is a huge boost to the chances of picking up a trophy. Rating: 7.5.

 

Shaqiri - some brilliant stuff, incisive passing and crossing, decent runs and link up play. However, there were moments when he only half tracked back, letting his man run off the back of him after tracking him for a couple of yards and then giving up. In games like this, his forward play more than makes up for that, but it would be a worry in games against higher quality opposition. Rating: 7.5.

 

Fabinho - did pick up a needless and silly booking for dangling a leg out when the game was well won, but, other than that, he had a very good game and closed out the midfield very well. I can only think of one occasion when he was caught out of position. Also played some really nice passes at times. However, it must be said it was not the sternest test for him and he needs to perform like that in the more difficult games. Rating: 7.5.

 

Salah - it was the Salah of last season, a constant goal threat, notched a hat-trick and caused havoc all game. When he plays like that, no defence can cope with him. I know he was lucky on the first, but the second and third were not about luck. That was what has been missing all season long. Rating: 9.5.

 

Firmino - looked fresh and lively, almost back to his best as well. Sometimes his feet are just magical as he twists and turns, somehow keeping the ball despite the attentions of opposition defenders. He just needs to get some more goals to truly get his season going. Rating: 7.5.

 

Subs:

Mane - replaced Shaqiri in the 65th minute. Not able to really stamp his mark onto the game, but bringing him on at 2-0 really made some of the Bournemouth players heads drop. Did link up nicely but he was not afforded the room to make the runs he is so good at making. Rating: 6.

Lallana - came on in place of Keita in the 65th minute. Worked hard, got himself involved and did some good things, however, there were a couple of times he showed a lack of pace to get to a ball and a few opportunities to play a quick ball he passed up in favour of an extra touch. In the position Liverpool were in after he came on, the control of the ball was more important than putting the ball through, so it was not really a negative in this instance. Rating: 6.

Henderson - came on in the 81st minute as Firmino was taken off. The game was over by the time he came on and he was just closing it out. No chance of making an impact. Rating: 5.

 

Just to explain my ratings. I have gone for what I believe is more simple than the usual of totting up points. I have decided to go with 5 as having no effect on the game other than being a body on the pitch. Anything below 5 is a player who had a negative effect on his team and anything above 5 as a positive effect. So a goal scored would be a positive effect and add to the rating, whereas giving away a penalty with a needless challenge would take away from it.

Written by Tris Burke December 09 2018 15:44:30

 

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