Mohamed Salah and James Milner cited Liverpool’s mentality as a key factor behind their battling 2-1 victory over Bournemouth at Anfield.
The Reds came from behind to move 25 points clear at the top of the table, with clinical finishes from Salah and Sadio Mane overturning the deficit created by Callum Wilson’s contentious early opener.
The result represents a welcome return to winning ways for the Premier League leaders, who had lost three of their previous four matches in all competitions prior to Saturday’s game.
Salah’s goal took his total to 70 in 100 top-flight appearances for the club and extended his rich vein of scoring form versus the Cherries, too – the Egyptian has now netted eight times in six outings against them.
70 - Mohamed Salah has scored 70 goals in his 100 Premier League appearances for Liverpool, seven more than any oth… https://t.co/w4GMugNqwy— OptaJoe (OptaJoe) 7th Mar 13:01
“Yeah that’s something good, honestly,” Salah told BT Sport, when asked about that personal record.
“I always love to score and help the team to get the points and today we showed our personality after [going] 1-0 down, so we had to react to that and I think we did well and we got the result.
“We need to keep going for the next three games and the rest of the season.”
Milner, meanwhile, performed superbly while deputising for Andy Robertson at left-back and produced a brilliant goalline clearance in the second half to deny Ryan Fraser a certain equaliser.
“It never is [straightforward] - I don’t think any Premier League game is easy to win. It’s a boring thing to say but it’s true, especially when we’ve had a couple of performances that weren’t at our level,” the captain stated.
“Again today we weren’t at our best, but many teams would have crumbled after a couple of poor results, plenty of things going on outside the ground with people saying this and that and many teams might have crumbled at one down but we didn’t.
“We stayed calm and when you’ve got the boys up front, how clinical they are, you’ve always got a chance.”
WWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW 22 consecutive home league wins - a new top-flight record. ❤️ Anfield ❤️ https://t.co/xRJAUk7g0o— LFC (Liverpool FC) 7th Mar 14:26
Liverpool have now won 22 consecutive league fixtures at Anfield - an all-time record in the English top flight.
Milner continued: “It’s an amazing place to play football. You can see they lifted us today even when things didn’t go well at the start.
“The unbelievable teams that have been here over the years, to be up there with those and have a good run is special but we want to just keep on producing performances, hopefully winning trophies and creating history for this club.”
Liverpool recovered from a goal down to beat Bournemouth 2-1 at Anfield and move 25 points clear at the Premier League summit on Saturday.
A contentious ninth-minute opener from Callum Wilson gave the Cherries an advantage that was wiped out by the leaders in the remainder of the first half.
Mohamed Salah marked his 100th league appearance for the Reds with the equaliser and Sadio Mane’s clinical finish later put them in front.
Jürgen Klopp’s side dominated the second half, too – but did require a pivotal James Milner clearance off the line – and did enough to post an all-time record 22nd consecutive home win in the English top flight.
Adrian continued between the posts due to Alisson Becker’s muscle injury, while Milner was deployed at left-back and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain started in midfield.
Andy Robertson was omitted from the matchday squad as a precaution.
Liverpool set about their customary brisk start in the lunchtime kick-off but it was the visitors who broke through first – despite the hosts’ protestations.
Wilson’s push on Joe Gomez was not deemed a foul as Bournemouth countered and they capitalised fully, the ball moving to Philip Billing, Jefferson Lerma and back into the middle for Wilson to convert from close range.
It was nearly two soon after as Adrian pushed Nathan Ake’s firm header from a right-wing corner onto the crossbar.
Liverpool reasserted themselves, though, and Roberto Firmino drew an important save from Aaron Ramsdale when he held off Steve Cook to collected Trent Alexander-Arnold’s prodded pass into the area and fired at goal.
The equaliser instead arrived on 24 minutes.
Mane spotted an opportunity to press Jack Simpson, recently introduced as a substitute, high up the pitch and successfully stole the ball and bore down on goal.
He elected to tee up Salah to his right and despite the pass coming slightly behind him, the Egyptian set his shooting position and threaded a sweet reverse finish into the bottom corner.
Simpson then had to clear from inside the six-yard box as Alexander-Arnold smacked a cross towards the waiting Mane.
The Reds did complete a turnaround before the interval, however, and this time Mane took care of the scoring himself.
Virgil van Dijk’s anticipation made the chance, the centre-back seizing on a loose ball around the halfway line and immediately sliding an assist into the run of an unmarked Mane. An unerring, swept shot beyond Ramsdale followed.
Liverpool dominated possession from the restart without generating any clear-cut chances.
And they required an outstanding piece of defensive recovery from Milner on the hour mark to preserve their slender lead.
Ryan Fraser neatly timed his run to break in behind the Reds defence off the flank and with Adrian heading out from his goalline, the Bournemouth man lifted the ball up and over him towards the empty net.
Milner rushed back, though, and stretched to produce a crucial clearance away from danger.
Van Dijk guided a header from a corner too close to Ramsdale and Firmino’s persistence then forced an opening, his driven cross-shot drifting wide of the target and Mane at the back post.
Next, Mane opted for a more direct route by dispatching a sumptuous curler from the left corner of the Cherries box that thudded off the upright and away, before Ramsdale touched Salah’s low hit wide of the same post.
In the end, a third was not required for a win that moves Liverpool within nine points of clinching the Premier League title.
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Andy Robertson was left out of the squad for Saturday's clash with Bournemouth as a precaution and will be fit for the Champions League tie against Atletico Madrid, explained Jürgen Klopp.
The full-back did not feature in the matchday 18 for the Premier League contest at Anfield after feeling a minor injury – one that will not affect his availability next week.
Asked whether Robertson was not involved because of rotation or a fitness issue, Klopp told BT Sport: “Something in between.
“He would have started today but then he felt [something] slightly. But it’s all good, it will be fine for Wednesday. But not for today.
“So we didn’t want to have him on the bench and see Robbo and think, ‘Maybe we can bring you [on].’ It wouldn’t make sense today. That’s the reason and he will be fine.”
James Milner starts for Liverpool in today’s Premier League clash with Bournemouth.
The No.7 replaces Andy Robertson in the Reds’ defence at Anfield, while Adrian deputises for the injured Alisson Becker.
Elsewhere, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain returns in midfield, while Naby Keita is on the bench after recovering from a knock.
Liverpool: Adrian, Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Mane, Salah, Firmino.
Subs: Lonergan, Keita, Minamino, Lallana, Origi, Matip, Williams.
Liverpool fan and two-time Mercury Prize-nominated musician Ghostpoet has picked out five songs to add to the Reds' official playlist ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash with Bournemouth.
The cross-genre singer/songwriter will release his fifth album, I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep, later this year and @ghostpoet has taken time out from his UK and European tour to add a quintet of selections to our carefully curated list of matchday music - which is available to listen to here.
Black Sabbath - Iron Man
"Dedicated to our wonderful back five. We've been like steel most of the season, I look forward to us returning to such form."
Muddy Waters - Mannish Boy (Electric Mud version)
"This is a song that always gees me up when I need that little extra energy before hitting the stage. Always does the trick."
David Bowie - Win
"Self explained really. We're going through a little blip currently, these things happen. We just need three points on the board and then we can march on from there."
ESG - My Love For You
"Dedicated to my beloved Reds. I've been a fan since I was a baby, it's been a rollercoaster but the love I have for this team can never be diminished."
Goldie - Inner City Life
"Another tune that gets the blood pumping and body prepared. People talk about pressure mounting on the team, I say nonsense. Up the mighty Reds!"
Check out Ghostpoet's picks and his new single, Concrete Pony, on LFC Spotify
The big news ahead of today's fixture is that Alisson Becker is not available for this game, or next week's Champions League tie with Atletico Madrid, due to a muscle injury.
Adrian is therefore set to continue in goal for the Reds after starting at Chelsea in midweek.
Naby Keita has been in training in the build-up, though Jordan Henderson and Xherdan Shaqiri remain sidelined.
Bournemouth could call on Lloyd Kelly but Harry Wilson is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Jordan Henderson has used his matchday programme notes to pay tribute to three members of Liverpool staff who have left the club for new challenges.
Andrew Massey and Richie Partridge have departed the medical department at Melwood, while Neil Critchley left his role as the Reds’ U23s manager to take charge of Blackpool.
In his column ahead of today’s Anfield clash with Bournemouth, the captain declared the appreciation felt for the trio’s contributions.
“There have been a couple of significant departures from our set-up recently and on behalf of the team I want to use this column as a chance to say a big thank you for their contribution,” writes Henderson.
“Our doctor, Andrew Massey, one of our physios, Richie Partridge, and the U23s coach, Neil Critchley, have all chosen new and exciting challenges.
“Doctor Massey and Richie were popular, trusted and respected figures at Melwood. The relationship between players and medical staff is always a close one – it’s the nature of what they do.
“As a dressing room we’re pleased they’ve left on great terms. Both are welcome back anytime they wish and will remain part of the LFC family because of their contribution.
“Critch is a little different, because being based at Kirkby means some of us had limited contact with him. That said, the younger players who are now part of the first-team set-up speak about him in amazing terms and when he was in and around the first-team set-up he was always impressive.
“We’re very grateful for how he’s helped shape a number of the young pros in our dressing room and also for the manner in which he led the team twice this season in difficult circumstances against Aston Villa and Shrewsbury Town.
“I’m sure he won’t need it, but we wish Critch all the luck in the world at Blackpool and hope he makes a success of a great opportunity.
“As Alex Inglethorpe, the Academy director, said, it shows there is a pathway to progression and improvement at Kirkby for coaches as well as players – and that’s going to serve the club well in the future.”