Liverpool roared back to their best to register their first Premier League win of the season at the fourth attempt, dismantling Bournemouth 9-0 at Anfield.
A match that many predicted would be one-sided, no-one could have foreseen the first-half flurry of goals that Liverpool notched, with the highlight being a rocket from range off the right boot of Trent Alexander-Arnold.
Luis Diaz opened the scoring after only three minutes, nodding home a Roberto Firmino cross past the helpless Mark Travers, and youngster Harvey Elliott curled a sumptuous shot beyond the scrambling visiting goalkeeper to double the Reds’ money three minutes later.
Alexander-Arnold’s wonder strike was quickly followed up by Firmino, who broke his duck for the season, heading in a deflected cross that fell perfectly for him; the Brazilian positioned well between the two centre-halves to beat the onrushing Travers to it.
Virgil van Dijk wrapped up the first-half scoring with a towering header of his own on the stroke of half time, as he powered home an Andy Robertson corner, that had initially been won by a driving Firmino run and shot that was well-saved by Travers down to his right.
Chris Mepham’s afternoon was made even worse as he diverted an Alexander-Arnold cross into his own net inside two minutes of the restart as Liverpool hit the Cherries for six inside 47 minutes.
It was seventh heaven for the title contenders as a quick corner between Robertson and Fabio Carvalho caught the visitors napping, and the left-back’s curling effort was parried by Travers, with the rebound picked up by none other than Firmino, who gobbled up his second of the game.
Carvalho turned goal scorer with his first for the club to make it eight; linking up with a fellow substitute Kostas Tsimikas, lashing an unstoppable strike beyond Travers. Diaz scored his second – and Liverpool’s ninth – in the 85th minute.
Bournemouth have now conceded 16 goals in their last three, without managing a single one themselves. That will concern their manager Scott Parker, who could only watch on in disbelief as his side were torn to shreds by Jurgen Klopp’s ruthless Reds.
TALKING POINT – RUTHLESS LIVERPOOL RAMPANT
They may have been missing some key names, but Klopp’s side refused to take their foot off the gas for one minute this afternoon. The front three of Diaz, Firmino and Salah was frightening; even if the latter wasn’t involved in any of the nine goals.
In midfield – the problem area in the Manchester United defeat – they were solid. Fabinho was a welcome readdition, with Jordan Henderson back in as the box-to-box midfielder, and Harvey Elliott was electric in the first half, before being withdrawn at half time for the equally impressive Carvalho.
Liiverpool’s depth has been debated as a serious issue of late, but they debunked those rumours in some style today.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH – ROBERTO FIRMINO, LIVERPOOL
Two goals and three assists is some haul in one match.
The Brazilian was on fire up top today, linking play delightfully and finishing deliciously to help his side to over half of their overall tally.
Alexander-Arnold was another contender after a stupendous strike from distance and his continued creative genius. But Firmino, before being substituted, was exceptional. Particularly after such a quiet display at Old Trafford last Monday.
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson 6, A-Arnold 8, Gomez 6, van Dijk 7, Robertson 7, Henderson 7, Fabinho 8, Elliott 8, Salah 7, Firmino 9*, Diaz 8… Subs: Tsimikas 7, Bajcetic 6, Milner 6, Carvalho 7.
Bournemouth (4-2-3-1): Travers 6, Smith 4, Lerma 5, Senesi 4, Mepham 4, Zemura 4, Christie 4, Cook 4, Tavernier 5, Anthony 4, Moore 4… Subs: Billing 5, Solanke 5, Pearson 5, Marcondes 5, Bevan 5.
3′: GOALLLL!!! The early breakthrough that Liverpool craved! It’s Luis Diaz, rising highest to nod home the Roberto Firmino cross. What a start. 1-0.
6′: GOALLL!!! It’s two! Harvey Elliott is the scorer, curling it beautifully beyond Travers, and Liverpool have a dream start with a two-nil cushion! They’ve come flying out of the blocks, and Elliott is the man of the moment!
28′: GOALLL!!! There’s three! It’s Trent Alexander-Arnold, with Firmino assisting once more. FPL managers can breathe a huge sigh of relief, as the right-back finishes a more patient Liverpool move with an absolute howitzer! What a goal!
31′: GOALLL!!! It’s four, and my, oh my. It’s Firmino, who finally gets on for himself. More patient build-up from the hosts is sped up with a van Dijk drive, moved infield to Diaz and Fabinho, and a deflected Salah pass is perfect for Firmino to nod home past a bewildered Travers!
45′: GOALLL!!! It’s number four who’s scored number five! Virgil van Dijk adds his name to the score sheet as Robertson’s corner (from an initial Firmino shot saved by Travers) is nodded home by the Dutchman. 5-0.
47′: GOALLL!!! And already, it’s six. Chris Mepham puts it beyond his own ‘keeper, and Alexander-Arnold has another assist. It goes from bad to worse for the visitors.
62′: GOALLL!!! It’s seventh heaven! The corner was taken quickly and Robertson’s curler was parried by Travers, but it fell nicely for Firmino to get his second!
80′: GOALLL!!! It’s eight! Fabio Carvalho has his first goal for the club, and what a great finish! In front of the Kop, after a lovely Alexander-Arnold switch. Tsimikas knocks it down and Carvalho takes it first time, with his knee over the ball, keeping it low into the bottom corner.
85’: GOALLL!!! There’s number nine, with Luis Diaz getting his second, bundling home after a Tsimikas corner.