Stylish Liverpool calm title nerves with win over Bournemouth
Anfield, Premier League - Liverpool 3 (Mane 24' Wijnaldum 34' Salah 48') Bournemouth 0
Liverpool went back to the top of the Premier League with a comprehensive victory over Bournemouth at Anfield.
They were looking for a win to go clear at the top of the table after Manchester City had whittled away their seven-point lead.
They were on their way when Sadio Mane headed in at the near post from a James Milner cross, and Georginio Wijnaldum scored a lovely second to make sure of victory.
Liverpool's Senegalese striker Sadio Mane (C) celebrates after scoring the opening goal of the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and BournemouthGetty Images
Bournemouth could have gone eighth with a win of their own, but were on the back foot from the moment they conceded.
In the second half, Mo Salah’s 49th league goal for Liverpool put them three up, which allowed them to relax with their next game not until they face Bayern Munich, with no match on the next weekend.
Manchester City, however, could reclaim top spot on goal difference if they beat Chelsea handsomely at the Etihad tomorrow.
Liverpool will be relieved with a win. After seeing their lead collapse in recent weeks, following two successive draws against Leicester and West Ham, they now go into a long break to prepare for their clash against Bayern Munich.
Liverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp congratulates Liverpool's Egyptian midfielder Mohamed Salah (R) on the pitch after the English Premier League football match between Liverpool and Bournemouth at Anfield in Liverpool, north west England on FebruaryGetty Images
Had they failed to win then the pressure could have become insurmountable in their quest for a first title in 29 years.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Mo Salah (Liverpool): He was slower to get into the game than the rest of his colleagues, but when he hit his stride he was a constant threat for Bournemouth to deal with. A goal set up Liverpool for a comfortable second half and allowed them to relax after a difficult period.
10’ - SALAH SHOT - Salah trundles at goal from the right. The defence allow him plenty of space, and he curls a shot that he wants to find the top corner, but wafts over instead.
24’ - GOAL! Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth. Sane scores - Corner for Liverpool on the right wing from a Milner cross put behind. He will take the corner, and it's headed out by Lerma at the near post. Milner gets another cross, deeper this time, and Mane meets it at the near post to beat a near-static Boruc.
Georginio Wijnaldum of Liverpool celebrates after scoring his team's second goal with teammate FabinhoGetty Images
34’ - GOAL! Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth. Wijnaldum scores - The ball is chipped into the channel for Wijnaldum by Robertson, and the Dutchman artfully lifts it over Boruc for the second.
48’ - GOAL! Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth. Salah scores - That is a brilliant goal. Firmino's run is met with a great pass from Keita. He backheels it into the path of Salah behind him, who drills a shot into the corner.
56’ - MANE HEADER - Mane rises at the back post to meet Wijnaldum's cross, and he sends a header back across goal, just a couple of yards wide.
76’ - SALAH CHANCE - Salah almost gets a double as he exchanges passes with Firmino on the right, and he rifles a rising shot against the crossbar.
Bournemouth have lost each of their last eight away Premier League games, conceding at least two goals each time.
Liverpool have won six and drawn one of their seven home matches against Bournemouth in all competitions, keeping four clean sheets.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 34 Premier League home games, winning 24 and drawing 10
Liverpool’s James Milner has provided more assists in this Premier League season (4 in 21 apps) than he did in the 2017-18 campaign (3 in 32 apps).