Salah was in an offside position when Roberto Firmino hit a 30-yard shot that home keeper Asmir Begovic carelessly pushed out in the direction of Egypt forward. Mohamed Salah scored his second hat-trick for Liverpool to help Jurgen Klopp’s side to an emphatic victory over Bournemouth and send them above Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table.
Salah finished clinically and his eighth top-flight goal of the season was allowed to stand by the officials to break the deadlock in a game the visitors dominated from the start. There was nothing fortuitous about the Liverpool forward’s second though, a composed finish after driving at the Bournemouth defence, while Steve Cook back-heeled the ball into his own net while attempting a clearance to make it 3-0.
Salah then completed his hat-trick after rounding Begovic, cutting back to beat the Bournemouth keeper for a second time and poking the ball past Nathan Ake on the line. Having taken 45 points from the last 51 on offer, Liverpool are now unbeaten in 17 league games in a run stretching back to last season.
After a fifth straight league win, Klopp’s side are one point clear of City, but the reigning champions will return to the summit if they avoid defeat at fourth-placed Chelsea later on Saturday (17:30 GMT).
Salah back to best at start of huge week
The wins keep on coming for Liverpool – and the goals are flowing once again for Salah. Having successfully negotiated a bruising night at Burnley on Wednesday, Klopp’s side started a huge week by ruthlessly dismantling Bournemouth to keep the pressure on Pep Guardiola’s team.
Salah goes into Tuesday’s Champions League must-win group game with Napoli having marked his return to the starting line-up by emphatically ending a three-match personal run without a goal.
Bournemouth have every right to feel disgruntled about the former Roma player’s first, with television replays clearly showing Salah was offside when Firmino struck the shot that Begovic spilled into his path.
Yet the hosts can have few complaints about his second or third. Despite Cook’s attempt to bring him down, Salah stayed on his feet to drive at Bournemouth’s defence before producing a neat finish into the corner via a slight deflection off Ake.
Cook’s troubled game continued when the Bournemouth defender inadvertently diverted the ball into his own net following a cross by Andy Robertson, before Salah completed the rout. After shrugging Cook off the ball following substitute Adam Lallana’s long punt forward, Salah dribbled into the box before tormenting Begovic and slotting home.
While the headlines belong to Salah, Liverpool overcame the absences of injured defensive trio Joe Gomez, Dejan Lovren and Nathaniel Clyne by securing a 10th Premier League clean sheet of the season before next Sunday’s visit of Manchester United to Anfield.
Bournemouth come unstuck against top six – again
Bournemouth’s started the weekend seventh in the table – level on points with sixth-placed Everton – and with plaudits ringing in manager Eddie Howe’s ears. Their climb from League Two to the fringes of European qualification in 10 seasons is nothing short of phenomenal, but the Cherries were second best all over the pitch against Liverpool.
This scenario is becoming a familiar story for the Dorset club against the league’s leading sides. Howe’s team are regularly praised for being a side that produces attractive, progressive football – but their record against the top-six teams is extremely poor.
Since the start of 2017-18, Bournemouth have lost 15 times in 17 games against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham and Manchester United. The bad news is they still have to face Chelsea, Tottenham and United – all away – in the league this month.
They were not helped by the absence of leading scorer Callum Wilson because of a hamstring injury, but the England striker would not have helped their defence – now without a clean sheet in seven league and cup games – contain Liverpool.
500 not out for Milner
This was a momentous day for Liverpool’s James Milner, who became only the 13th player to reach the landmark of 500 Premier League appearances. With Jordan Henderson on the bench, Milner captained Liverpool to victory in a game in which his statistics were again impressive.
Having covered 12.57 kilometres at Burnley in midweek – more than any other player on the pitch – the 32-year-old clocked up another 11.73 filling in at right-back against Bournemouth.
There was one nervous moment when his misplaced first-half pass required Alisson to dash out of his goal to head clear – and in doing take out Josh King. But Milner was otherwise a reassuring presence in the back four, demonstrating his value to Klopp with his ability to move from midfield to full-back and give youngster Trent Alexander-Arnold a rest with Gomez injured.
In fact the Yorkshireman found himself in the Bournemouth half as often as he was his own as he played a significant part in the 238th top-flight win of his career.
Man of the match – Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
Own goal misery for Cherries – the stats
- Since the start of 2015-16, Bournemouth have scored more own goals in the Premier League (eight) than any other side currently playing in the top-flight.
- Liverpool have accrued 42 points from their opening 16 league games of the season, their best-ever tally at this stage of a top-flight campaign.
- Cherries boss Eddie Howe has lost more games in all competitions against Liverpool than against any other side (eight).
- Bournemouth’s Asmir Begovic has made eight errors leading directly to a goal in the Premier League since the start of 2017-18, more than any other player.
- Bournemouth’s Jefferson Lerma has been shown 22 yellow cards in the Premier League since the start of last season, more than any other player in Europe’s big five leagues (38 apps).
- Mohamed Salah’s opener was his 40th goal in his 52nd Premier League appearance for Liverpool, the fastest a player has reached that milestone in the competition for the Reds (Fernando Torres 60, Daniel Sturridge 64).
- Since the start of last season, only Lionel Messi (43) has scored more league goals in the big five European leagues than Liverpool’s Salah (42).
- Salah is only the second Liverpool player to score a competitive hat-trick against Bournemouth after Harry Chambers in the FA Cup in January 1927.
- Liverpool keeper Alisson has remained unbeaten in his opening 16 league matches as a Liverpool player, which is a club record as it moves him ahead of Javier Mascherano (15, set in November 2007).
Bournemouth take on Wolverhampton Wanderers (15:00 GMT) next Saturday while Liverpool have back-to-back home games against Napoli in the Champions League on Tuesday (20:00) and Manchester United in the Premier League next Sunday (16:00).
Source: BBC News