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A masterclass and Premier League’s best duo – 5 talking points from B’mouth 0-4 Liverpool

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Liverpool extended their lead at the top of the Premier League as they claimed a 2-0 win ver Bournemouth on the south coast.

Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool

Premier League (21), Vitality Stadium
January 21, 2024

Goals: Nunez (49′, 90+3′), Jota (70′, 79′)

 

Mac Allister puts on midfield masterclass

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister (R) is challenged by Bournemouth's Justin Kluivert during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After Liverpool failed to add a big-money holding midfielder to their squad last summer, you might have thought that this January window would have been defined by calls to sign one.

But that there has been no such clamour owes much to the fact that Alexis Mac Allister is increasingly looking at home in a role so many declared he could not play.

The Argentine showed as much here, putting on one of his best performances in a Liverpool shirt to help his team control what should have been a tricky away game.

An 87% passing accuracy, 11 passes into the final third, and four chances created are testament to the quality on the ball Mac Allister showed.

But he also evidenced an underrated aspect of his game in winning 12/17 duels and recovering the ball a remarkable 15 times.

“As long as you can provide a compact formation, Macca is an outstanding six,” praised Klopp post-match.

He really does have everything required to thrive as a No.6.

 

Konate and Van Dijk are league’s best pair

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's captain Virgil van Dijk (R) speaks with Bobby Clark during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Of course, as much as Liverpool controlled things in the middle, there were still moments when Bournemouth were able to threaten their box.

However, Andoni Iraola’s men only found themselves running into the brick wall that is Virgil van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate, who might well be the Premier League‘s best defensive pairing in this moment.

Here, Van Dijk made five blocks and four clearances, while Konate won an impressive eight out of his 10 aerial duels and four out of five on the ground as Bournemouth were consistently repelled.

If Jurgen Klopp can keep this pair consistently injury free, then Liverpool have every chance of keeping their remarkable recent form going.

 

Nunez gets much-needed confidence boost

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Darwin Núñez celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool fans have been entirely right to point out that, during a recent barren run in front of goal, Darwin Nunez has still been a net positive for the team.

Not only has the Uruguayan been racking up assists, he has also pressed and made things happen with his runs in behind and hold-up play.

Still, a return of one goal in 16 appearances isn’t good enough for a player of this quality, particularly when it is a result of missing chances.

With that in mind, the hope will be that this brilliantly taken brace can provide a confidence boost for Nunez that ushers in a purple patch in front of goal.

His 10th goal of the season had the Liverpool fans singing ‘S**t Andy Carroll’ ironically.

 

Conor Bradley continues to shine

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Conor Bradley during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It cannot be talked about enough that Liverpool have lost a world-class right-back in Trent Alexander-Arnold to injury and have simply plucked a more-than-capable replacement from their academy in Conor Bradley.

The Northern Irishman was hugely impressive again here, winning six duels, clocking up nine defensive actions, and setting Diogo Jota up for a goal.

But more than the numbers, he simply looked incredibly comfortable playing at Premier League level despite the fact he is a 20-year-old making his debut in the top-flight.

That is testament to the incredible work done by the academy during what is lining up to be a golden era of talent production, and of course the player’s own quality and temperament.

 

Reds fail to get VAR rub of green

In a week that has seen Nottingham Forest write to the PGMOL about a referee’s spray, it would be fair to say that the discourse around officials is getting out of hand.

But that doesn’t mean Liverpool can’t feel aggrieved that they didn’t get the rub of the green in terms of decisions in this win.

Consistency is never likely to be found when human beings are involved, but it is difficult to understand why Justin Kluivert’s challenge on Luis Diaz wasn’t considered sufficiently bad to bring the referee to screen when you see what Curtis Jones was sent off for at Tottenham.

And what reason could possibly be given for a clear trip on Diogo Jota on the line of the box (and therefore in the area) not resulting in the award of a penalty?

Fortunately for the Reds, these calls ultimately didn’t matter, but we have already seen enough instances this season where the outcome of the game has been affected.

Klopp will only hope that all his team’s bad luck in terms of decisions has been used up during this routine win.