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Mac Allister masterclass & title “belief” – Last word on Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool – Liverpool FC


Liverpool ruthlessly kept the pace at the top of the Premier League table with a convincing 4-0 win over Bournemouth, and there were plenty of impressive individual performances.

The Reds recovered from a tricky first half to put four past Andoni Iraola’s side, with braces coming from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.

It leaves Jurgen Klopp and his team five points clear at the top of the pile, and looking more than capable of putting a good run of results together.

Adam Beattie (@beatts94),Sam Millne (@sam_millne) and Jack Lusby (@LusbyJack) are here to dissect another huge win for the Reds.

 

It was a brilliant second half from the Reds, what do you think made the difference after the break?

Diogo Jota (centre left) celebrates with his team-mates after scoring their side's third goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. Picture date: Sunday January 21, 2024.

ADAM: I think a lot of it was down to patience. We struggled a bit to create openings early on but with the quality we’ve got up front, there was always a threat.

It would have been easy to feel sorry for ourselves after that first half, but this season we’re continuing to show belief and self-assurance in equal measure.

JACK: As Klopp alluded, the switch in roles in attack really opened things up; moving Nunez central and then Jota to the right created gaps that weren’t there before.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court.Liverpool won 4-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Bringing Ryan Gravenberch into midfield helped things too. He’s not been in his best form of late but he helped Liverpool break lines as the right-sided No. 8.

Another example of the manager and his staff flexing their tactical nous, as well as the strength of the squad – but it doesn’t half create more doubt over the best attacking setup in Salah’s absence!

SAM: Of course, Klopp made his tactical switches that made the biggest impact, but I also think Liverpool are getting very good at knowing when to turn up the intensity.

This season, Liverpool have constantly got better as games have progressed and that is a sign of game management we associate with the best teams who can sustain their levels across a full season.

 

Alexis Mac Allister put on a masterclass in the middle, do you see his future as a defensive midfielder long-term?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister (R) is challenged by Bournemouth's Justin Kluivert during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: It was the ideal time to put in a performance like that. Even when Wataru Endo comes back we’re going to need options there and he looked like he’d been doing that job all his life.

I’d like to see him get a solid run as a No. 8 at some point purely to see how that looks, but he’s given us every reason to believe he can do what is required from that position.

It will be interesting to see what midfield three the manager goes with when everyone is back fit, we’ve got some serious permutations now.

JACK: As Adam says, Endo leaving and Mac Allister returning in this form is not only timely, but for me also answers a lot of questions over his role.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Alexis Mac Allister is challenged by Bournemouth's James Hill during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

There’s clearly a plan in place for the evolution of the No. 6 in this system, particularly with Trent’s new role, and a more flexible, possession-happy option like Mac Allister seems to fit well.

That said, he certainly isn’t shirking off the ball, either. That challenge in the second half put Kluivert in his place.

Sam: This was certainly another sign that he could play there in the long term, but I still think he is best as a No. 8.

Having said that, he is already a great option to have but I would still prefer a proper Fabinho replacement, as games against Europe’s elite teams may require that tiny bit more defensive nous.

 

Which other players stood out to you?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's two-goal hero Darwin Núñez celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court.Liverpool won 4-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JACK: The obvious ones are Nunez, Jota, Konate and Bradley, along with Mac Allister, but I’d like to extend the praise to Gravenberch.

As I’ve already mentioned, he was key to Liverpool not only gaining more control but also more fluency in midfield, which bodes well ahead of the Fulham decider.

He looked to get himself more involved than in previous games and looked more comfortable on the right-hand side, too.

ADAM: There were too many to mention them all, the back four were all outstanding and credit definitely has to go to Conor Bradley for how he’s handled the unexpected run of games.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The two goalscorers were also a nuisance throughout that second half, Diogo Jota looks full of confidence and you sense that is going to be massive for us in the coming months.

Man of the match for me was probably Ibrahima Konate, but there were plenty of strong contenders.

Sam: While Jota reminded us of his brilliance after the break, I thought Nunez had a more influential 90 minutes.

The first half proved difficult for everybody but, even before the break, he was making runs inside that Mac Allister could seek out. Without him, we would have looked even more blunt before the half-time changes.

Mac Allister was another that played well across the whole game, not just in the latter stages. His passing from deep was Liverpool’s biggest threat in the first half.

 

A much-needed confidence booster for Nunez, do you think he can kick on now?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's two-goal hero Darwin Núñez celebrates after the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court.Liverpool won 4-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

ADAM: For sure, it looked like he really enjoyed both and when he hits a streak we’ve seen how much of an impact he can have.

Consistency will be the key for him between now and May, but that was just what the doctor ordered and I’d argue no more than his performance deserved.

JACK: I don’t think he really needs to ‘kick on’ as such, but two more goals can’t hurt a player who may have been doubting whether it was just a case of bad luck.

That’s 10 goals, 10 assists in 31 games this season – or one every 87.9 minutes – not bad for a shit Andy Carroll.

SAM: That would be the hope, but I think we are at the point where he is contributing without scoring, which is essential for an attacker in Klopp’s teams.

I personally think the price we bought him for puts an expectation on him that he will eventually grow into one of the best strikers we have seen. I’m not so sure that will happen, but that’s not to say he can’t be great for us.

 

Finally, give us your thoughts on the title race after that.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 21, 2024: Liverpool's Diogo Jota (L) celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at Dean Court. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

JACK: The belief is growing, that’s for sure.

Maybe the biggest compliment I could pay at this point is that the confidence is back that, regardless of slow starts or setbacks in games, Liverpool will get the win.

There’s both Arsenal (away) and Man City (home) to play before the final international break of the season – keep it up through that seven-game block and we can start talking titles.

ADAM: There is a long way still to go but the fact we’re in this position without really fully hitting our stride is very promising.

I’ve already got one eye on when Man City come to Anfield, if we can keep them at arm’s length until then that is going to be absolutely enormous.

Sam: I’m at the point where I think the destination of the title almost depends more on Man City than Liverpool.

While things will become more difficult when the Europa League heats up, I’m convinced we can get at least 85 points. It is just down to whether Man City, or anyone else for that matter, can beat that.





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