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Dublin: 11 °C Sunday 22 April, 2018
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Good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to our coverage from the Vitality Stadium, where Liverpool will be looking to pick up a first league victory since 2 December. On that occasion they went to Brighton and racked up five goals. Something similar today would do very nicely indeed.

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TEAM NEWS! 

So, Eddie Howe makes five changes to the Bournemouth side from their narrow loss to Manchester United last time out.

Jermain Defoe is back to lead the line while Jordan Ibe, Lewis Cook, Marc Pugh and Andrew Surman are also included from the start.

Bournemouth XI: Begovic, Daniels, Francis, Ake, A Smith, Surman, Pugh, Cook, Ibe, King, Defoe.

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TEAM NEWS!

For the guests, there are four changes from that frustrating 0-0 draw with West Brom on Wednesday night.

Klopp decides to leave Sadio Mane on the bench for this while Emre Can is suspended because of yellow card accumulation. Trent Alexander-Arnold is on the bench.

That means Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Jordan Henderson come in and Joe Gomez returns too.

Simon Mignolet is also back in goal.

Good news for Adam Lallana – he’s part of a match day squad for only the second time this season.

Liverpool XI: Mignolet, Robertson, Lovren, Klavan, Gomez, Wijnaldum, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Coutinho, Firmino.

Salah has been absolutely superb for Liverpool since arriving at Anfield and an added incentive for him this afternoon.

Defoe was on loan with the Cherries in the 2000/2001 season and scored 10 times in 10 appearances. He hasn’t changed much, has he?

Soccer - Nationwide League Division Two - Millwall v Bournemouth Source: Steve White

2Mins

Some good movement already from the Liverpool attack while the hosts have cheaply surrendered possession on a couple of occasions.

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CLOSE! Liverpool are lined up across the Cherries’ 18-yard line and Oxlade-Chamberlain spreads it to the right, where Gomez runs onto it. He puts plenty of pace on it but it’s not quite a cross and not quite a shot either. It flashes narrowly past the far post.

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BOOKING! Sloppy from Nathan Ake, who gets caught by Firmino’s run. The ball is clipped over the top and Ake pulls the attacker down right on the edge of the area. Yellow card is a good call. Dangerous position for the free-kick now.

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OFF THE POST! So, so close from Coutinho. He doesn’t have much space to work with because he’s so close to goal but he just curls it towards the near post and Begovic is rooted to the spot. But it catches the inside of the upright, bounces across the goal and somehow stays out.

21Mins

Liverpool deserve that – they’ve started fast and they seem up for it. And it’s a fitting goal too. A brilliant dribble from the Brazilian and utilising Robertson’s overlapping decoy run to his advantage as he checks inside once and twice before sending the shot low inside Begovic’s near post.

25Mins

The home side are struggling here. They can’t really get any momentum in the final third and if they push too hard, they seem so vulnerable to Liverpool’s counter-attacks. Robertson is pushing high from left-back while Firmino is constantly running the channels and completely opening up the Bournemouth defence. They’re being pulled left, right and centre, essentially.

28Mins

And there is the second. And this looks like it could be a proper hammering. It comes from a set-piece this time. The ball loops up in the air and seems to be heading out of play at the far post but Firmino stays with it and hooks it back into the six-yard area where the defender knocks it to the net.

30Mins

When Liverpool need something away from home, they can usually count on the Brazilian.

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SUBSTITUTION! Stanislas (on) – King (off)

Another blow for Bournemouth here as Josh King is forced off with injury.

35Mins

That’s a lot better from the home side. Pugh sends in a marvellous cross from the left side and it’s begging for someone to put their head on it but Bournemouth are in a tricky spot here and probably don’t want to gamble too much going forward. So, inevitably, it’s a white shirt who deals with the delivery and the best the Cherries can do is force a corner.

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OFF THE POST! Wow. That should be a goal back for Bournemouth but Defoe has struck the inside of the upright after being slipped through. A reminder to Liverpool, who allow the veteran striker beat their offside line. He strikes it instantly and crisply but it thumps the post and stays out.

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CLOSE! The game is end-to-end here as Bournemouth up the tempo and start to ask some questions. There’s another cross from the left and a bit pinball in the penalty area but, inevitably, Liverpool break and after a delightful link-up with Firmino, the ball drops for Salah on the volley in the area but Begovic does well to smother.   

46Mins

And that’s 20 goals for the season for the Egyptian. But how he’s allowed to find the net is beyond me. He’s in the right channel, close to the touchline, and manages to squeeze between a couple of challenges, get onto his left foot and send it to the far corner.

45Mins

45Mins

Well, frustrating for Eddie Howe. Because if Jermain Defoe had scored and made it 2-1 instead of striking the post, perhaps we’d have a different half-time narrative. Still, there has been far too much space afforded to the Liverpool attack and, to be honest, it looked pretty ropey for them at various intervals owing to the running and movement from Firmino and Salah and the ease in which Liverpool were allowed to break from their own half. The home side have stood off their guests and have suffered accordingly.

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SUBSTITUTION! Fraser (on) – Pugh (off)

Second change of the game for the home side as Ryan Fraser is introduced at the break to freshen things up.

53Mins

Another scare for the home side as a cross comes into the middle and Firmino is completely unmarked. A striped shirt gets back just in time to close him down and Begovic comes off his line too. But the keeper adds to the confusion, doesn’t make contact with the ball and it bounces right across goal, with Firmino probably annoyed that he hadn’t gambled more.

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SUBSTITUTION! Cook (on) – Daniels (off)

Over 30 minutes left and Bournemouth have used all three subs now. Charlie Daniels is forced off with injury – like Josh King was in the first-half – and Steve Cook is on in his place. That means a positional switch too so Nathan Ake will go to left-back and try and do a better job on Mo Salah than Daniels managed.

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OFF THE POST! More than a hint of Fifa about this from the Ox. He dives into a challenge and brilliantly wins the ball, gets up, races towards goal and smacks the shot towards the near post but Begovic has it covered and it catches the outside of the upright and bounces wide.

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CLOSE! Defoe runs onto the ball into the left channel, gets onto his right foot and looks to curl a low strike to the far corner. But Mignolet parries with a strong hand and Liverpool get it to safety.  

67Mins

A sixth Premier League goal of the season for Firmino though there is a hint of offside about this one.

It’s all too easy, again, as Coutinho picks up the inside pass from Robertson in the left channel. He gets the head up and curls in a delicate ball over the top for Firmino, who glances past Begovic.

70Mins

We mentioned Adam Lallana before the game started and how he was included in the Liverpool squad for only the second time this season because of his injury problems. Well, he’s about to be introduced here. And he’s sporting a fetching new hairstyle too.

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SUBSTITUTION! Lallana (on) – Salah (off)

To the general disappointment of everyone, it’s Mo Salah who is withdrawn.

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BOOKING! In fairness, Lallana hasn’t had much game-time and he’s surely a bit rusty. He’s a bit eager but reckless in the challenge and picks up a yellow.

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SUBSTITUTION! Solanke (on) – Firmino (off)

Solanke had that ‘goal’ ruled out against West Brom. Can he get on the scoresheet here?

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SUBSTITUTION! Ings (on) – Coutinho (off)

Coutinho almost arrows one to the bottom corner but it drifts wide just at the last moment. Seconds later he’s replaced by Danny Ings.

89Mins

Next up for Liverpool is a trip to Arsenal on Friday night, by the way.

90Mins

‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ rings around the Vitality Stadium as the home fans make a hasty exit.

90Mins

Solanke smacks one from distance and Begovic parries. On the follow-up, Lallana’s header drifts over the bar.

So, a rampant performance from the Reds. They were 3-0 up at the break and that’s really what did Bournemouth in. They had their own key opportunity when Jermain Defoe struck the post and after that lucky break, Liverpool never looked back. For the most part they were fast, free-flowing and energetic. But the home side didn’t help matters with how open they were and the space they allowed Liverpool’s key attackers in the final third. They were soft and were punished for it. It could’ve been more in truth as Coutinho and Oxlade-Chamberlain both struck the post.

Arsenal up next and you’d presume (maybe optimistically!) that it will be a bit more challenging for Klopp and his side.

Thanks for staying with our coverage today and there will be plenty more reaction on the site this evening.

About the author:

Eoin O'Callaghan

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