Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth: Christian Benteke scores winner on Anfield debut

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Liverpool beat Bournemouth 1-0 at Anfield on Monday evening, thanks to Christian Benteke’s controversial first-half goal.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool 1-0 Bournemouth
Premier League – Anfield – Monday, 17th August 2015

Goals: Benteke (26)

Pre-match

Brendan Rodgers made no changes to the team that won 1-0 at Stoke eight days ago, as Emre Can and Roberto Firmino once again had to settle for a place on the substitutes’ bench.

There wasn’t even a place in the squad for Mamadou Sakho, whose rather bizarre omissions are now becoming something of a concern in terms of his Liverpool future.

Anfield was in good voice as the Reds looked to maintain their winning start to the season.

First-half

Jordon Ibe flashed an early effort well wide of the Kop goal, while Tommy Elphick had a header ruled out after climbing on Dejan Lovren. Liverpool started very slowly on the whole.

The Reds got hold of the game midway through the second-half, but lacked creativity in the final third. Home debutant Christian Benteke shot wide from outside the penalty area.

The Belgian found the back of the net in the 26th minute, however, as he pounced on Jordan Henderson‘s terrific cross from close-range.

It was a dream start in front of his home fans for the first time, although the goal should not have stood because of Philippe Coutinho being offside in the lead-up.

Henderson almost doubled the lead with a superb shot from range soon after, as Liverpool improved greatly after their poor start.

Coutinho had a wonderful chance to make it 2-0 just before half-time, but the Brazilian curled his shot wide.

Benteke’s goal was the difference at the break.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's Christian Benteke celebrates scoring the first goal against AFC Bournemouth during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Second-half

Matt Ritchie tested Simon Mignolet shortly after the restart, then curled a shot high and wide. Eddie Howe’s side hadn’t lost any of their first-half confidence.

Emre Can replaced the injured Henderson in the 52nd minute, with the new Liverpool captain picking up a very rare knock.

The energetic James Milner scuffed a left-footed effort wide, while at the other end, the impressive Ritchie hit the post with a fantastic strike.

Bournemouth really got on top of proceedings with half an hour remaining, and looked the more likely side to score the next goal.

Roberto Firmino replaced Ibe with 20 minutes left, as the Brazil international made his Anfield bow. It was set to be a nervy finale.

Liverpool hung on in the end, although Benteke did hit the crossbar, but it was far from a vintage performance from Rodgers’ side. It’s hard to complain with back-to-back wins and two clean-sheets though. [td_ad_box spot_id=“custom_ad_3″]

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Škrtel, Lovren, Gomez, Henderson (Can ’52), Milner, Coutinho (Moreno ’81), Ibe (Firmino ’70), Lallana, Benteke.

Subs not used: Bogdan, Toure, Origi, Ings

Bournemouth starting XI: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, O’Kane, Surman, Gradel, King, Wilson.

Referee: Craig Pawson

LIVERPOOL 1-0 BOURNEMOUTH:

PLAYER FOCUS: Christian Benteke vs. Bournemouth
FAN REACTION: “Performance unconvincing, result important”
TALKING POINTS: Clyne and Benteke impress, Lallana ineffective
PLAYER RATINGS
MANAGER REACTION: Howe unhappy with decisions

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