Liverpool won a thoroughly entertaining 3-1 encounter over Bournemouth in the Premier League on Saturday, in a game that had everything.
The Reds started off horrendously and were behind within three minutes thanks to a goal from Antoine Semenyo.
On the 58th minute, Alexis Mac Allister saw red after a late challenge on Ryan Christie. While replays showed his tackle to be a soft one, VAR and referee Thomas Bramall stood with the original decision.
Minutes later, Diogo Jota double Liverpool’s lead with a tap-in after a long-range Dominik Szoboszlai shot was spilled by goalkeeper Neto.
Alisson was called into action late on in the match with a couple brilliant saves, including a low stop tip Hamed Traore’s shot wide of the goal.
Here are the five main talking points from this afternoon’s match.
Szoboszlai is brilliant
Liverpool’s £60m summer signing showed why Klopp was right to spend the big bucks on the midfielder, who put in a brilliant man-of-the-match performance.
From minute one, the Hungarian was calm and assured in the middle of the pitch, showing for the ball, and driving the Reds up brilliantly.
In defence, the 22-year-old got back well to shut out any Bournemouth opportunities, and in attack linked up brilliantly with the forward line of Liverpool.
If Szoboszlai can keep this form up, Liverpool’s chances of a top four finish will certainly increase game after game.
Still shaky in defence
For the first 25 minutes of Saturday’s match, Bournemouth looked as if they could score during every venture forward.
Winger Jaidon Anthony had the ball in Liverpool net after just a minute but was ruled out for offside by the tightest of margins. You would assume this to be a wake-up call for the Reds….
Minutes later, Semenyo secured the lead for the Cherries after a poor give-away by Trent Alexander-Arnold, and the mistakes didn’t stop.
Liverpool really really need an adequate defensive midfielder to inject some confident into the back-line. Wataru Endo could be that man.
Coming on in the 63rd minute, Endo put in a very solid performance on his Liverpool debut, especially given he had only signed for the Merseyside club 24 hours beforehand.
The 30-year-old came on earlier then expected following Mac Allister’s red card, and slotted into the No. 6 role very well, hardly given the ball away.
The Japanese international had 26 touches, with a pass accuracy of 88% and four final third passes, which is certainly a great baseline to start with at Anfield.
Don’t be surprised to see Endo start at St James’ Park next week, especially with Mac Allister out of contention.
Let’s talk about that red card
Let’s but bias aside, how was that a red card??
Liverpool were in control, passing the ball around brilliantly, creating chances every minute. Mac Allister was sent off in the 58th minute after arriving late into a challenge on Ryan Christie just outside Bournemouth's box.
However replays showed a tackle that wasn’t malicious, but merely late on the foot of the Christie.
VAR looked at the challenge, and kept the referee’s original decision, leaving the Liverpool players perplexed.
You would certainly hope the decision is overturned, and Mac Allister is allowed to feature against Newcastle next weekend, but with the state of English refereeing, who knows?
Liverpool had two minor injury scares involving Alexander-Arnold and Diaz.
Alexander-Arnold was subbed off half-way through the second half with a knock to the ankle. However, he watched the rest of the match from the bench and didn’t seem in too much bother.
Diaz was also substituted in the 86th minute for Kostas Tsimikas after receiving treatment, but joined Alexander-Arnold on the bench and looked in good shape.