Liverpool picked up its first win of the new Premier League season as Bournemouth were beaten 3-1 in a strange game at Anfield. This is what we spotted.
ANFIELD, LIVERPOOL // Liverpool picked up its first win of the season as the Reds beat Bournemouth 3-1 in a strange game to mark their return to Anfield.
A nightmare start for Liverpool saw them concede just minutes into the game, with Antoine Semenyo taking advantage of some slack play from the hosts’ defense to put Bournemouth ahead.
Nerves inside Anfield weren’t exactly eased as an out-of-sorts Liverpool continued to make mistakes in its own half, but Luis Díaz’s superb strike helped to settle things down just before the half-hour mark as the Reds finally began to find their way into the game.
And they found themselves ahead shortly after, with Mohamed Salah turning home on the rebound from the penalty spot after Dominik Szoboszlai was tripped.
Alexis Mac Allister’s red card threatened to derail things in the second half, but Liverpool came up with the perfect response, almost immediately making it 3-1 through Diogo Jota to secure a first win of the new season.
Klopp left stunned by Reds
It’s difficult to make a worse start than Liverpool did against Bournemouth.
A mix-up between Alisson and his defenders looked to have put the visitors ahead after barely a minute when Jaidon Anthony rolled the ball into an empty net, only for the offside flag to spare the Reds’ blushes — although not for long.
Just moments later, a loose touch from Trent Alexander-Arnold was pounced upon, with Antoine Semenyo providing the finishing touch and leaving everyone inside Anfield bemused.
The nervy start continued, with Alisson going into the book after bringing down Anthony after stumbling with the ball at his feet, and there was certainly a degree of unease around Anfield.
The need for a new number six has been clear for some time, hence Wataru Endo’s signing this week, and a new defender is also needed, but that doesn’t excuse what were self-inflicted problems today.
The situation was perhaps best summed up when TV cameras cut to Jürgen Klopp midway through first half, with the Liverpool boss standing opened-mouthed as if he couldn’t believe what he was seeing from his side.
Easy decision for Díaz
While Liverpool’s defenders are still yet to find their feet this season, there’s been no such problem for Luis Díaz.
Having looked electric during pre-season, the former Porto man has carried that form into the new campaign, with his goal at Chelsea being followed up with an exquisite overhead finish to bring Liverpool level.
The Reds were cruelly robbed of the Colombian for much of last season, and he’s showing exactly what they might have missed at the moment. In fact, his form now practically leaves Klopp with just one decision to make in his front three, with Diogo Jota, Cody Gakpo and Darwin Núñez all battling for the number nine role.
New record for Salah
After last week’s frustration at Stamford Bridge, Mohamed Salah would have no doubt felt a bit better after opening his account for the season, even if it wasn’t quite in the manner he would have hoped.
Having seen his penalty saved by Neto, the Egyptian was quickest to follow up and turn the ball home on the rebound, and in the process further his status in the record books.
The strike saw Salah overtake Steven Gerrard in the list of Liverpool’s all-time scorers, with the 31-year-old now in the top five outright after notching his 187th goal in red.
Only Ian Rush (346), Roger Hunt (285), Gordon Hodgson (241) and Billy Liddell (228) now lie ahead of him, cementing Salah’s place as a modern Liverpool legend.
Never a red
Wataru Endo’s introduction to Anfield certainly didn’t come in the manner Klopp would have hoped.
Liverpool’s newest signing made his way off the bench shortly after Alexis Mac Allister saw red from referee Thomas Bramall. To say that decision was harsh would be seriously underplaying it.
Having seen Chelsea escape with all 11 men on the pitch despite two incidents that could have easily resulted in red cards, the Reds will have been left baffled as to how Mac Allister’s 50-50 challenge resulted in his afternoon being ended early.
It was a nonsense of a decision from the referee, but what is even worse is that there was no intervention from VAR to overturn it. For you conspiracy theorists out there, the man in charge of VAR today was a certain Paul Tierney…
These are the sort of decisions VAR was brought in for, and Liverpool was fortunate it didn’t cost it the three points. Having Mac Allister missing for the next game is bad enough though, so don’t be surprised to see that decision appealed — it certainly needs to be.
With Curtis Jones already injured and Mac Allister now potentially facing suspension, the last thing Liverpool needs is another star player out.
So the sight of Trent Alexander-Arnold receiving treatment on the bench after being substituted won’t exactly leave Reds fans reassured ahead of next weekend’s trip to Newcastle.
Fingers crossed it was just a precautionary measure.