Liverpool ruthlessly capitalised on their opportunity to get back to winning ways with a 3-0 drubbing of Bournemouth on Saturday.
After huffing and puffing against Leicester and West Ham, Jurgen Klopp’s men completely dominated the Cherries at Anfield.
They created five big chances to their opponents’ zero and had more than double the number of shots in the penalty box too.
The impact of that result on our Fantasy Premier League squads is the focus of this latest Scout Notes article.
Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
Goals: Sadio Mané (£9.6m), Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m), Mohamed Salah (£13.6m)
Assists: James Milner (£5.6m), Andrew Robertson (£6.8m), Roberto Firmino (£9.3m)
Mohamed Salah (£13.6m) was comfortably the best player in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bournemouth and arguably should have registered more than his eight-point haul. The Egyptian topped the game for total goal attempts, recording more than double any other player at Anfield, also having the most shots in the box and efforts on target too. Furthermore, Salah was second for chances created. Those sorts of numbers will be great news to any Fantasy managers who had been worried by Salah’s recent form, after two consecutive blanks in Gameweeks 24 and 25.
The fact that he did not capitalise on all of his chances and do enough to secure a double-figure haul is, of course, a little frustrating, especially with captaincy rival Paul Pogba (£8.8m) scoring 16 points. However, seeing Salah perform so well in open play for the first time in several weeks provides encouragement for the future, even if it’s a trip to Manchester United up next.
“The performance was brilliant. He was pretty much undefendable. It was an outstanding game; it was just exactly the football he is able to play and what we want him to play. Very, very involved in all the things, not only in the scoring moments, in the build-up situations as well. Sometimes dropping a bit, not really deep but in the half-spaces, staying wide and all that stuff. That’s exactly how he has to play and he did it in an outstanding manner.” – Jurgen Klopp
While Salah was the clear star of the show, Sadio Mané (£9.6m) continues to offer potential as a cheaper alternative. He was the one to open the scoring for Liverpool and has now netted in four consecutive Premier League matches. Coming into the Saturday afternoon encounter, the Senegalese international had been outperforming Salah for shots in the box and efforts on target in the four previous matches, hence the serious interest in his signature of late. That said, Salah was the clear winner statistically against Bournemouth.
“The front three were brilliant all day. Some of their link-up play was impossible to defend: the movement, the understanding, the one-touch play. Probably the only disappointing thing is we didn’t score more. But we’re pleased to get a clean sheet and to get the three points was the main thing, obviously.” – James Milner
Roberto Firmino (£9.3m) also reminded Fantasy managers what he is capable of as he provided the assist for Salah’s only goal of the game. Driving into the penalty box, his perfectly-timed back-heel set up the Egyptian for his cool finish. It was Firmino’s first attacking return since Gameweek 23, although he does still have six in his last eight. Crucially, the Brazilian was level with Mané for shots in the box but was more accurate, while no player created more chances in the match than him. That means Firmino should still be on our radar as a potential attacking double-up with Salah when a Liverpool triple-up looks important in the future Blank Gameweeks.
“I don’t think you’ll find a lot of players who do what Bobby did in that moment. Most of them would try to shoot and get blocked, but he did that little, little pass and then Mo is obviously a pretty cool finisher.” – Jurgen Klopp
As well as a welcome return to the ruthless attacking football for which Liverpool are known, there was also a first clean sheet since Gameweek 22. After three matches without one, the shutout was fairly routinely secured against a Bournemouth side that had scored three times in their seven away matches prior to this one. Andrew Robertson (£6.8m) was the main beneficiary as he was able to combine the clean sheet with a seventh assist of the season and one bonus for a nine-point haul.
Liverpool defensive options should firmly re-establish themselves as important assets moving forward, especially with Trent Alexander-Arnold (£5.2m) making his much-awaited return from injury. He featured as a 77th-minute substitute.
“Trent trained twice after four weeks out and it was good that we could bring him [on]. You could see immediately what a fantastic player he is.” – Jurgen Klopp
The entire Liverpool performance was impressive considering some of the problems the squad had in the build-up to the game. Georginio Wijnaldum (£5.5m), the scorer of the second goal, had illness issues in the week, as did James Milner (£5.6m).
“We had difficulties before the West Ham game, with Hendo out, Gini out, Millie was not in the team hotel because he was ill but he played. We didn’t perform that well and people were talking about him. Last night, Gini was not in the team hotel because he had pretty much everything you don’t want to have the night or two nights before a game. That’s the news you get in the morning before the last session of the week. Then, after another couple of hours’ sleep he said he felt really good and he thought he could play. But the doc said he is still infectious, so stay away. So I was only concerned today when he scored a goal and everybody gave him a hug, to be honest!” – Jurgen Klopp
For anyone worried about the adverse effects of the illness within the group, or any injuries, there is now a period of 14 days between now and Liverpool’s next Premier League match. They host Bayern Munich on Tuesday night but their elimination from the FA Cup means they have no fixture next weekend, before returning to action against Manchester United in Gameweek 27 on February 24.
“I think [it will] for everyone. We are having one of those runs in the season where we have got little niggles, little injuries, illnesses and disruption to the team a couple of days before, it has been the last few games really. Hopefully, we can rest up and get everyone back fit. It was good to see Trent back, Hendo was on the bench if needed. That’s good and hopefully, a few more can come back in the next 10 days, refresh and go again.” – James Milner
Bournemouth continue to look decidedly ordinary on the road, compounded by the ongoing absences of Callum Wilson (£6.3m) and David Brooks (£5.0m). They were also hit by a thigh problem for Junior Stanislas (£6.0m) while Charlie Daniels (£4.1m) missed the game through personal reasons.
“We had Callum Wilson, David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Nathaniel Clyne and Junior Stanislas are huge players for us. Since Christmas, we can add Lewis Cook and Simon Francis to that list, but there’s no other solution, we have to keep fighting. My philosophy is to look at ourselves first and that includes who we have available.” – Eddie Howe
The Cherries were restricted to just 33% possession at Anfield had just two efforts on target all afternoon. They certainly look like a team to largely avoid in the near future with Wolves (home), Arsenal (away) and Manchester City (home) their next three opponents.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, van Dijk, Matip, Milner; Keita, Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Alexander-Arnold 77′); Mané (Origi 87′), Firmino (Sturridge 90′), Salah.
Bournemouth XI (4-5-1): Boruc; Rico (Mepham 80′), Aké, S Cook, A Smith; Fraser, Surman, Lerma (Mousset 73′), Gosling, Ibe (