Diogo Jota slotted twice and provided a one-touch assist for Darwin Nunez in earning his man of the match award, as Liverpool thrashed Bournemouth 4-0. A second for Nunez in added time was the cherry on the cake, in an accomplished second-half display that secured a five-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
At a windswept Vitality Stadium, in which both teams struggled to defeat the elements in a largely incident free first-half, Liverpool showed their class in a goal-filled second period. Just minutes into the second half though, first Curtis Jones then Jota, set up Nunez for a lovely first-time finish into the far corner. It was soon two-nil, as Jota hit a near-post strike past an increasingly beleaguered Bournemouth goalkeeper. Having been denied a clear penalty for a trip on him moments earlier, justice was done and the scoreline at last reflected the dominance Liverpool had taken in the second half.
Liverpool, by now well on top, continued to torment a Bournemouth side who barely bothered Allison all afternoon and the Portuguese striker soon added a third. Berated by the home support for what was almost an air shot, the ball fell at his feet instantly and an unerring half volley crashed into the net. Jurgen Klopp, surely delighted with the performance of Conor Bradley at right-back and others, such as Alexis Mac Allister and Nunez, also stepped up.
The Uruguayan was a thorn in the side of the defence of the Cherries throughout, but in concluding his brace he now has 10 goals this season. A superb long range cross from Joe Gomez being deftly finished in injury time. Liverpool could have added more in the eight minutes of additional time, but it will be the injury scares to Curtis Jones, and the excellent Ibrahima Konate that will have Klopp most concerned on the long coach drive home.
This accomplished victory, dare I suggest, the sort of potentially tricky fixture that often define title winning teams, was the first match of three games in eight days in three different competitions. A second-leg League Cup semi-final awaits them in West London on Wednesday, whilst an FA Cup fourth round tie at Anfield against Norwich next Sunday also lies ahead. Both are games you’d expect Liverpool to navigate successfully but, with big players missing and more potential injuries, a draw and a narrow victory would be more than welcome in the next two fixtures.