Written by Danny11
The most unsurprising part of the afternoon was the line-up – Eddie’s trusted captain and Right Back Francis replacing Smith at Right Back, the continuation of 2 holding midfielders in Lerma and Billing and then non-scoring strike duo of Callum Wilson and Dominic Solanke up top, these all forming part of …. the yes you guessed it the 442 formation.
The game started predictably with Liverpool dominating possession passing with ease, although to be fair apart from one early Salah shot that Ramsdale comfortably dealt with, we did a reasonable job of keeping them at bay. Unfortunately, we were not getting much joy on the counter-attack, one snapshot from Wilson went wide. Solanke was played through for what looked like a good chance, but he never properly got the ball out of his feet and Van Djik dealt with it easily.
Then just after the half-hour – the biggest of body blows, Salah was played through and looked for all the world as if he would put the visitors ahead, Nathan Ake got back and made a brilliant slide tackle to avert the danger, however he immediately clutched the back of his leg – everybody feared his hamstring was gone and he limped off to be replaced by Jack Simpson. 30 seconds later and Liverpool were ahead to an all too familiar type goal, Henderson played a long 50 yeard ball over the top which caught Chris Mepham and Simpson on their heels. Oxlade-Chamberlain was in between them in a flash and poked the ball home beyond the advancing Aaron Ramsdale. That was essentially game over and a minute before half time it was 2-0 when Keita slipped the ball to Salah on the edge of the area before accepting the return pass and dinking the ball past Ramsdale.
The 2nd half was complete Liverpool domination. The 3rd goal arriving 9 minutes into the 2nd half. Simpson gave the ball away carelessly and the ball was slipped into Salah who finished with ease. The rest of the game was played out with Liverpool in complete control and only a couple of Ramsdale saves kept the scoreline down. Lewis Cook arrived for the ineffective Philip Billing and towards the end a further blow when Wilson pulled up from chasing a ball down the channel and clutched at his hamstring area – he was replaced by Dan Gosling for the final few minutes.
Ramsdale 7 – No chance with the goals and a couple of good saves.
Francis 6 – Did ok today stuck to his task against the best attacking line in the league.
Mepham 5 Shaky and caught for the all-important first goal. I think lack of games is showing him up at this level – he may get a run now though.
Ake 8 – Looked to be in imperious form before injury, was marshalling Salah well until injuring his hamstring with that brilliant tackle
Simpson 4 – Difficult circumstances to come on and the toughest of opposition, but is nowhere near ready for this level.
Rico 6 – Same as Francis, kept going but not much chance to get forward
Danjuma – 6 Tried, but limited possession so difficult to judge, had goal correctly ruled out for offside.
Fraser 5 – Didn’t do a lot wrong but nowhere near the player of last season and is not getting involved enough
Billing 4 – poor game, not sure what he is offering at the moment, not a partnership with Lerma
Lerma 6 – Tried, snapped in as ever, no yellow card for a change was up against far superior opposition.
Solanke 4 – No threat, no confidence, willing runner but we need so much more.
Wilson 4 – Not in the game at all, one early snapshot, but need so much more effort. We cannot afford his injury, but maybe a week or 2 out will help him refocus.
Subs Cook 5 – tried but so difficult to come on when the team don’t have the ball
Gosling – No real chance to impact the game
MOM – I’ll go for Lerma, always gives 100% and plays his role to perfection. If we could only work out the rest of the midfield around him.
Liverpool are running away with the league this year, this game would have been difficult for a fully fit and firing Cherries – we had no chance today.
I know we have always had injuries but currently, Smith, S Cook, Brooks, King now joined by Ake and Callum Wilson as well as the liks of Stanislas etc, we just can’t compete with that sort of injury list. I have seen comments already tonight that these are not accidental, but I can’t agree. Yes, you can look at our game style and training methods, but some of these injuries are just freakish and the footballing gods are being very cruel at the moment.
Where we can impact this is formation and tactics. I do think we need to get back to dominating the ball and going at teams. Yes, this would leave us exposed at the back, but we would score goals and pick up points. Also for some reason Eddie Howe just plain refused to play 3 in midfield. We really must try, surely a midfiled of Jefferson Lerma, L Cook and Gosling/Surman/Billing would give us greater control of the ball. This team has completely lost its identity at the moment and as soon as we go behind the game is over as the players do not have the belief to turn it around. Contrast this to just 2 seasons ago when we were the best team at picking up points from losing positions. This is our darkest hour since we have been in the Premier League and I am struggling to see how we can turn it around at the moment. Worrying times.
Yep, Lerma MOM again for me; when he has travelled back from international break, he’s rested or struggled, but has to be our most quality, reliable player over the season so far – still, not half way there yet, the squad, surely as good as it’s ever been & injuries aside, we’d be much further on in my opinion. We’ll be ok.
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