Liverpool go five points clear in Premier League as Nunez scores landmark goal

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Liverpool responded to wins from title rivals Arsenal and Manchester City with a comfortable 4-0 triumph at Bournemouth.

After a dour first half, Darwin Nunez broke the deadlock on 49 minutes with a composed finish – his 100th senior career goal.

Liverpool weren't great in the first half but showed their class after the break to seal the three points


Liverpool weren’t great in the first half but showed their class after the break to seal the three pointsCredit: AFP

Jurgen Klopp’s men were in control from that points and breezed to the three points with Diogo Jota scoring their other two goals.

The first saw the Portugal forward fire the ball in-off Neto’s near post before beating the Cherries goalkeeper at his far post on 79 minutes.

Nunez then got his second and Liverpool’s fourth in stoppage time as the Uruguayan got on the end of Joe Gomez’s cross from the right.

The result means Liverpool are again five points clear at the top of the Premier League despite Arsenal’s 5-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace on Saturday and City’s 3-2 victory at Newcastle last weekend.

Next up for Liverpool is the second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final tie against Fulham, where they go into the Craven Cottage clash on Wednesday night 2-1 up on aggregate.

A difficult outing for Andoni Iraola’s hosts could have been worse as Justin Kluivert was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card for a first-half challenge on Luis Diaz.

Liverpool were back in top-flight action for the first time since New Year’s Day, but without talisman Salah, who has sustained a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, in the league for the first time this season.

The Reds were unable to find fluency in the opening stages as Bournemouth began brighter, albeit without testing Alisson.

Nunez scored twice to take his season's tally to ten


Nunez scored twice to take his season’s tally to tenCredit: AFP
While Jota also scored twice to take his tally for the season to 11


While Jota also scored twice to take his tally for the season to 11Credit: AFP

Klopp’s men grew into the game and eventually enjoyed some meaningful territory.

Alexis Mac Allister fired wide from distance, before long-range efforts from Nunez and Diaz were comfortably collected by Cherries goalkeeper Neto.

Bournemouth, who had also not played a league fixture for three weeks, then breathed a sigh of relief in the 35th minute when Kluivert avoided punishment after catching Diaz with a high, studs-up tackle.

Ryan Christie eventually registered the hosts’ maiden attempt at goal in the 39th minute – a tame effort straight at Alisson – and was then unable to turn home Kluivert’s dangerous low centre just before the break.

Following a fairly forgettable first half devoid of clear chances, Liverpool capitalised on sloppy defending to edge ahead four minutes after the restart.

Ibrahima Konate’s cross-field ball was chested down by the unmarked Curtis Jones and then moved on to Jota, whose first-time pass was confidently slotted into the bottom right corner by Nunez.

Nunez, who was unfavourably compared to former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll by gloating home fans in the first half, was also involved in his side’s 70th-minute second.

Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the touchline at times


Klopp cut a frustrated figure on the touchline at timesCredit: AFP
But the Premier League table will make for nice reading


But the Premier League table will make for nice reading

The powerful Uruguay forward caused problems for Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham, allowing Reds substitute Cody Gakpo to pounce on the loose ball and slip in Jota to find the net via the base of the right post.

Jota extinguished any hope of a Cherries fightback just nine minutes later.

The Portugal forward miskicked his first effort following a pass from Premier League debutant Conor Bradley, but swiftly silenced ironic cheers by rifling into the bottom left corner.

Cherries substitute David Brooks wasted a golden chance to claim a consolation when he dinked wide in 90th minute.

And Nunez, who claimed the winner when the clubs met in the Carabao Cup fourth round at the start of November, rubbed salted into Bournemouth wounds three minutes into added time by registering his second with a fine close-range finish.


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