Liverpool secured their first win of the Premier League season as they defeated AFC Bournemouth 3-1 at Anfield on Saturday afternoon. The home side got off to the worst possible start after an error from Trent Alexander-Arnold allowed the Cherries to capitalise, with Antoine Semenyo driving the ball past Alisson to open the scoring.
Virgil van Dijk came close to equalising moments later, with his header smashing back off the woodwork, while the Reds continued to garner momentum in the chase to restore parity. Bournemouth managed to hold on until the 27th minute when Luis Díaz reacted first to a deflected cutback from Diogo Jota, finishing acrobatically past Neto.
Careless defending from Bournemouth’s Joe Rothwell then led to him conceding a penalty, and while Neto was able to stop the initial strike from Mohamed Salah, the Egypt international reacted quickly to put away the rebound.
A red card for Alexis Mac Allister in the second half provided hope for the visitors, but they soon found themselves 3-1 down after Neto couldn’t hold onto a long-range strike from Dominik Szoboszlai, allowing Jota to tap into an empty net.
Kieffer Moore had the best chance in the remainder of the game with an effort that he should have got on target, before Alisson was called into action to save from Justin Kluivert. Liverpool then opted to see out the remainder of the game, with Kostas Tsimikas introduced for Salah.
A bright display from Liverpool’s attack showed further signs of improvement, with the performances of Szoboszlai and Díaz impressive. The link-up play between Salah and Diaz was also a standout factor.
Liverpool started the game poorly with too many needless mistakes that conceded possession, and could have been punished by stronger opposition. The Reds are also set to be without Mac Allister for three games after he was unlucky to be sent off just before the hour mark.
Manager rating (1-10; 10 = best)
Jurgen Klopp, 7 — He went with his strongest possible side in a game where a victory was expected, and trusted in his tactics that eventually saw the Reds take control of the game after going 1-0 down. He also responded well when his side lost Mac Allister in the second half, introducing debutant Wataru Endo swiftly.
GK Alisson 7 – There wasn’t much Alisson could have done about the opening goal after an error from his defence, but a mistake of his own moments later saw him lucky to not be punished for losing possession outside of his area. Made an excellent save to keep the score at 3-1 to keep out Justin Kluivert, and repeated his heroics with a fine stop in injury time.
DF Andy Robertson 7 – The Scotland international displayed strong decision-making when called upon, and looked composed when tucking into more of a centre-back role. Aggressive with his tracking to ensure Liverpool weren’t exploited in behind, and transitioned the ball forward efficiently.
DF Virgil van Dijk 8 – An ever-present danger from set pieces, Van Dijk almost equalised with his header that cannoned back off the bar. Dominant in the air in a physical battle with Dominic Solanke. Excellent anticipation saw him often first to the ball ahead of Bournemouth attackers.
DF Ibrahima Konaté 6 – Close to scoring with a header from a corner but couldn’t get it on target. Not called upon too frequently across the 90 minutes, but could have done better in injury time when a mistake forced Alisson to make a crucial save.
DF Trent Alexander-Arnold 6 – Slow to get going after two errors in the opening five minutes, with one leading to Bournemouth’s opener, but that seemed to wake up the Liverpool vice-captain, whose delivery was always threatening. He also took up promising positions to contribute to the attack.
MF Alexis Mac Allister 6 – Kept things ticking in the middle of the pitch and helped transition play with first-time passes. Unlucky to be dismissed with a challenge that was deemed to be dangerous, but didn’t look as bad on the replays.
MF Dominik Szoboszlai 8 – Incisive with his decision-making and fearless when challenging defenders. Helped secure a vital goal for Liverpool after they went down to 10 men, with his strike deflected into the path of Jota by the goalkeeper. Unlucky not to pick up an assist after bursting past two defenders down the right-flank before cutting the ball back across the box.
MF Cody Gakpo 6 – Gakpo chose the right moments to drive at defenders which often offset the Bournemouth defence, but he could have been better with his shooting on the day. Replaced by Endo in the second half.
FW Luis Díaz 8 – A standout star on the day as Díaz looked to challenge players directly when on the ball, and it was his impressive finish that levelled the scoring.
FW Diogo Jota 7 – Worked hard and got into promising areas, where he was unlucky not to be given a penalty after his shirt was pulled. Involved in the equaliser after his pass was deflected into the path of Diaz.
FW Mohamed Salah 7 – A constant threat with runs in behind and linked well with both Szoboszlai and Alexander-Arnold. Instantly made up for his missed penalty by striking the rebound past the goalkeeper.
Substitutes (players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
Wataru Endo (Gakpo, 63″) 6 – A debut for the Japan international, who kept things simple with his passing, and looked to plug holes in Liverpool’s defensive third as they played out the game with 10 men.
Joe Gomez (Alexander-Arnold, 75″) N/R – Introduced for Alexander-Arnold who appeared to be struggling with an injury.
Harvey Elliott (Jota, 76″) N/R – Worked hard when introduced, at one point pressing the ball from one side of the pitch to the other. A threat on counter-attacks with Liverpool breaking quickly.
Darwin Núñez (Diaz, 86″) N/R – On for Díaz, who took a slight knock before coming off.
Kostas Tsimikas (Salah, 86″) N/R – Another defensive move by Liverpool to help see out the rest of the game with a two-goal cushion.