Firmino the key as Liverpool stroll to victory at Bournemouth

Man of the Match Friends of Liverpool

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino was crucial as his side eased to a 4-0 victory at Bournemouth, where the Brazilian grabbed a goal and an assist at the Vitality Stadium to send the Reds back into the top four.

Liverpool are now just four points behind third-placed Chelsea in the league after the rout, and it was Firmino who shone brightest in a simply outstanding performance from Jurgen Klopp’s side. The Brazilian spearheaded a front three with Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah either side, with the forwards producing an unstoppable display accompanied by an important clean sheet for goalkeeper Simon Mignolet and his defence.

Yet more magic from Coutinho saw Liverpool take an early lead, yet Firmino made his mark on the game just six minutes later when he hooked a wayward Gini Wijnaldum header back into play expertly, with defender Dejan Lovren on hand to gratefully head home a second for his side.

Another goal was added through the ingenuity of Salah, who became the first Liverpool player to score 20 goals before Christmas since Ian Rush in 1986/87, while Firmino’s tireless efforts were finally rewarded with just over half an hour to play. Coutinho’s dangerous delivery met the head of fellow Brazilian Firmino, whose well-timed, stopping header found the back of the net to complete a fantastic afternoon for the Reds.

Klopp’s side now lie one point ahead of Arsenal in fifth with a superior goal difference of 18 compared to Arsenal’s 11, and Liverpool’s forward has been imperative as to how the club have excelled throughout the season, particularly in such games where goals are on offer.

Liverpool once again dominated possession and the shot count, with their number 9 continuously threatening the Bournemouth goal, while also linking up well with his fellow forwards. Firmino also proved his desire to play for the team with a diligent display in both an attacking and defensive sense, and will no doubt have a key role to play in the upcoming fixtures for Liverpool over a demanding Christmas period.

Liverpool host Arsenal on Friday evening in their first of two home games in a matter of days, with Swansea the visitors to Anfield on Boxing Day. After another goal-filled performance, no side has scored more first-half Premier League goals this season than Liverpool’s 19, while the Reds are unbeaten in their last nine games in the Premier League – winning six and drawing three – their best run since an 11-match streak ended in November 2016.