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“Legendary” win, Firmino & new midfielder – Last word on Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth

Three Liverpool fans dissected a legendary 9-0 win over Bournemouth, with focus also on a potential midfield signing.

The Reds annihilated the Cherries at Anfield on Saturday afternoon, with Roberto Firmino scoring twice and also registering three assists.

There were also goals from Luis Diaz (two), Harvey Elliott, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Fabio Carvalho, as Jurgen Klopp‘s men ran riot.

Here, This Is Anfield’s Henry Jackson (@HenryJackson87) is joined by a pair of Irish Reds, Dave Hendrick (@EPLIndex) and John O’Sullivan, (@NotoriousJOS) to discuss an incredible win and a potential midfield signing.

 

A legendary win…

2JT1G7H Liverpool's Luis Diaz (second left) celebrates scoring their side's ninth goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday August 27, 2022.

JOHN: The win was just the tonic for this team. I can imagine training was electric during the week and you could see it from minute one.

Liverpool were recognisable – a far contrast to what we saw in the first three games.

The key thing is that it didn’t feel anomalous like the Palace 7-0 two seasons ago. The Reds created chances to win by a bigger margin, but Travers made an excellent save from Salah, who was also inches from steering in Elliott’s cross in the first half.

It was great to see big improvements from Henderson and Fabinho, but Elliott stole the show, and as an individual player, despite only playing a half, was the star player.

Luis Diaz was superb, too, acting more like a striker and playing higher up the pitch and taking both goals very well.

Overall, just a stunningly good afternoon with positives to beat the band.

DAVE: 9-0 is an incredible scoreline, isn’t it? There’s a reason it’s only ever happened three previous times in the Premier League and never been topped.

It’s really hard to score one goal in this league, let alone nine, and you’d have to say that Liverpool were good value for the scoreline.

The once-dominant Reds defence had looked shakier and more vulnerable than ever before this season, and while they have much tougher tests to face in the coming weeks this will be a good confidence booster.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 27, 2022: Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (C) celebrates after scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

You’d have to mention the fact that Elliott and Carvalho, two starlets that we all have huge hopes for, were both excellent and both scored – Bajcetic is another that there is high expectations for and he looked more than comfortable when he came on, and then Bobby Clark, who’s yet another highly talented youngster with a bright future.

Diaz needs to be mentioned here because I thought he was one of the standout performers. He showed a bit of everything in this game.

His passing was clever and accurate, his ball retention was outstanding, his movement and dribbling were top class and he scored two great headed goals.

What always stands out to me about Lucho is his decision making. He rarely takes the wrong option and was as close to perfect as you could want a winger to be in this game.

HENRY: What a day! I felt like this was a massive “f**k you” to everyone who doubted these players in the last week.

The first half, in particular, was a joy to watch, with so many under-fire players producing a reaction, especially Trent, Van Dijk and Fabinho.

Write this bunch off at your peril!

If the most annoying thing about a game is not getting a 10th goal, you know your team aren’t really in a proper crisis!

We’re just spoilt now.

 

Bobby’s back…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 27, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JOHN: What a performance. He scored a lot, relative to minutes played, last season, but never did he tie together a performance like that.

His touch was clean, he seemed to have eyes in the back of his head given the awareness he had of where teammates were. He showed the nose for goal to be in the right area for both of his goals.

The team has moved on from the false nine role, and with both Darwin and Jota to return, his appearances will be more infrequent.

But he showed he can still be an excellent rotational option and to reach the 100-goal mark for the club, all the while being a huge creative spark and voracious worker, is special and you couldn’t be happier for him.

DAVE: The long overdue return of Fun Bobby! Out with the drunk, in with the fun and what a performance from our number nine.

Two goals, three assists, four key passes. Creativity galore when he had the ball, excellent movement to always be available to receive the ball when Liverpool had the ball, and tremendous pressing when Bournemouth had the ball.

It’s long been said that when Bobby plays well, Liverpool play well, so should we be surprised then when he turns in a performance like that it sparks a result like we’ve just witnessed?

His link-ups with Salah, Diaz and Elliott were a joy to watch, he was the first target for Fabinho and Trent as we got back to building primarily from our right side and he constantly made space for others to run into.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 27, 2022: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (R) celebrates with team-mate Luis Díaz after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It was the combination play with Elliott that was vital to much of what Liverpool did today, the duo were very much on the same wavelength today and their movement and quick interchanges dragged Bournemouth‘s defence all over the place.

Bobby’s best days are behind him – I don’t think that’s a controversial statement – but Liverpool don’t need him to be brilliant every single week anymore. They need him to be a vital squad player who performs when called upon.

He’s often been criticised for not scoring enough goals, but he showed last season and with his two goals in this game that he can be a goal poacher at times.

If Harry Kane had scored the goals Bobby got against Bournemouth we’d be hearing him called “The Poacher Supreme” or some such fluff. Hopefully, Bobby can continue to contribute them throughout the season.

HENRY: Bobby’s my favourite player of the entire Klopp era, but he has been painful to watch in the last year or so.

This was him back to his very best, though, as he rolled back the years and produced a virtuso performance every bit as good as anything in 2018 or 2019.

As Dave alludes to, Bobby should no longer be considered a key starter if everyone is fit, but this was proof that he still has plenty to offer.

What a man.

 

Which midfielder comes in, if any?…

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - JUNE 26: Frenkie de Jong of Netherlands looks on during the Netherlands Training Session ahead of the UEFA Euro 2020 Round of 16 match between Netherlands and Czech Republic at Puskas Arena on June 26, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (UEFA)

JOHN: It’s hard to know which midfielder we will sign, given they have different on-field profiles. Caicedo and De Jong, for example, are wholly different players.

My pick would be De Jong, though. I think physically, technically and tactically, he would be ideal for this Liverpool team.

Pep Lijnders has gone on record to say how much he rates him and he’s good friends with Van Dijk from international duty, so those are two pluses right off the bat.

He’s a player who could both play with – and crucially, due to the number of games the Spaniard misses – and instead of Thiago.

He shares with him a brilliant ability to dribble through pressure and get teammates on the front foot with accurate and creative passing.

DAVE: There are plenty of midfielders that the Reds could target in the five days – midfielders who vary in profile, quality and price.

Will Liverpool look for a cheap fix like a Sander Berge, who’s probably not someone who’s good enough in the long-term?

Will they look for a bargain – an undervalued midfielder with only one year left on his contract who could start in the short term but perhaps is more of a 4th or 5th midfielder in the long run, like Youri Tielemans, Fabian Ruiz or Konrad Laimer?

Maybe a young midfielder that can play straight away but also has plenty of runway for development, like a Kouadio Kone or Moises Caicedo? Or perhaps they’ll go big and aim to bring in a Ruben Neves or Frenkie De Jong.

For me, I wouldn’t want Berge. He’s injury-prone and hasn’t really developed in the last couple of years. I would only really want Tielemans, Laimer or Ruiz if Keita is leaving and we are bringing in two midfielders.

And let’s be clear here, if Naby leaves Liverpool before the end of the window, the Reds need to recruit two midfielders, not one.

Kouadio Kone is a dynamic, ball winning box-to-box player who’s got a solid technical level who’s a similar profile of player to Yves Bissouma.

He would be a good fit on the left of the midfield three, as a more bombastic version of what Gini Wijnaldum gave Liverpool when he played there. Kone could also fill in at the number 6 position when Fabinho needs a rest.

LISBON, PORTUGAL - Wednesday, September 29, 2021: Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong during the UEFA Champions League Group E Matchday 2 game between SL Benfica and FC Barcelona at the Estádio da Luz. Benfica won 3-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Moises Caicedo, like Kone, is primarily a defensive minded midfielder. From a positional sense, he is superior to Kone but he’s not quite as dynamic.

Caicedo reads the game brilliantly and has excellent timing in his challenges. He would be a perfect Wijnaldum replacement in terms of how he kills opponents counter attacks by sitting in next to a holding midfielder, blocking passing lanes and making important challenges.

And then there’s Frenkie. He’s good defensively, but not on the same level as Kone or Caicedo. He’s levels above both on the ball though and he improves us the most right now.

He’s a borderline world-class player who’s an elite passer and ball carrier. He could play the left-sided role as a more dynamic version of Thiago and give Liverpool an incredibly progressive pairing alongside Fabinho.

All three of these options would mean Thiago moving to the right side. He excelled there at the end of the 2020/21 season as Liverpool went 10 unbeaten to secure top four despite having no fit central defenders of the required standard.

Frenkie improves us the most, Caicedo might make the most sense long-term, and Kone would be the cheapest and easiest to get of the three. If I had to choose, I’d probably pick Frenkie, but Caicedo is probably the right call.

HENRY: Forget yesterday’s scoreline, Liverpool HAVE to sign a midfielder. Simple as that.

I’m very much with John and Dave in saying De Jong would be my pick – he’s so press-resistent and superb on the ball, not dissimilar to Thiago.

I don’t see see it happening, but we can all dream, can’t we!

Someone like Tielemans feels more likely, but he lacks pace and I’m not convinced he is the right fit for this Liverpool team.

Beggars can’t be choosers, though, and someone must come in or the Reds’ season could be seriously affected.

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