Three things we learned as Liverpool beat Bournemouth
Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-1 win over Bournemouth. The team showed mettle and patience as they overturned the lead taken by the Cherries.
This was the club’s 22nd straight win at home, setting a new English top-flight record for the statistic. This is the club’s 27th win of the season, overtaking the total win tally set by Arsenal’s invincibles in nine fewer games.
The Reds are now 25 points ahead of Manchester City, who have a game in hand. Jurgen Klopp’s side will be crowned Premier League champions if they win just nine points from the remaining nine games.
The win comes at a crucial juncture and will lift the spirits of the players and fans going into the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid. We take a look at some of the key takeaways from the victory.
1. James Milner is the go-to man for Liverpool
James Milner is a jack of all trades and has even gone on to master a few. The 34-year-old not only stepped in to give Andrew Robertson a much-deserved break but also added leadership and grit to a side that has lacked the same in the last few games.
His lack of pace was an issue, but he made sure he used his vast reserves of experience to gain the upper hand more often than not.
Milner provided a number of memorable moments in the game. The first was prior to kickoff as he gave a motivational talk to remember. He later turned up when required to deny Ryan Fraser an equalizer.
The midfielder erred in trying to play the offside trap and was caught out by Fraser. Adrian closed down the Bournemouth midfielder, allowing Milner to rush back and clear Fraser’s lob off the line.
Milner’s contribution was the difference between the draw and a win as Liverpool ended a torrid sequence of results with a much-needed morale booster before the visit of Atletico Madrid. The former Manchester City star might not be the most spectacular player. However, he is someone who can step in and do a job with the minimum fuss when called upon.
Milner will go down as one of the club’s shrewdest acquisitions in the free-agent market. A consummate professional, his ability to inspire and fight for the people around him adds another layer to a player who will be remembered fondly in the years to come.
2. Salah and Mane rediscover their scoring shoes
More than the painful defeats against Watford and Chelsea, what made the display unbearable to watch was the limited penetration the Liverpool attacked seemed to have. The Reds were shut down so effectively that even the likes of Salah and Mane seemed to go invisible.
With the crunch UEFA Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid around the corner, the pair’s return to the scoring charts could not have come at a better time.
The pair leads the club’s scoring charts with a combined 38 goals and 21 assists between them. In Atletico, they face one of the best-drilled defensive teams that so effectively shut out our attack in the first leg. Not only will our strikers have to be in good form but will also have to take the chances we get against Diego Simeone’s side.
The victory against Bournemouth wasn’t pretty as we were pushed a fair margin by the Cherries. But the players showed their mettle and got back to winning ways. This attitude of defiance coupled with the return to form of our two foremost scorers, the stage is set for Liverpool to add Atletico to their list of scalps.
3. No place like home
The return to a familiar setting resulted in yet another victory for the Reds. Liverpool have not dropped points at Anfield in the league since January 2019 as they drew 1-1 with Leicester City.
The club has now broken the English top-flight record for most home wins a row set by the legendary Bill Shankly’s Liverpool in 1972. The win against Bournemouth was the club’s 22 on the bounce.
A similar trend can be observed in the Champions League where only Bayern Munich and Napoli have escaped with a point in the past two seasons. Liverpool have faced 16 sides since 2017 including the likes of Manchester City, PSG and Barcelona and have won 14 of them. The club has scored 45 times in these games while conceding just 11. The incredible run has also seen Klopp’s side keep nine clean sheets and are yet to lose a two-legged tie under the German since he took over in 2015.
In Simeone’s side, they face one of the toughest teams to break down. A task that will prove even more difficult with them having a lead to protect. Atletico is not a team that tends to attack and are content with sitting back.
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With Adrian having to play the game of his career, he will be comforted to know that the crowd will be behind him. He is no Alisson but under the Anfield lights, lesser players have stepped up to be considered immortals.
The onus now falls on the fans to recreate an atmosphere they have come to get used to once again under Klopp. Playing at Anfield in a European tie with our backs against the walls and a baying crowd egging you on – these are the nights where legends are made and Liverpool are no strangers to this fact.