MO GOAL FEAST DISHES OUT LESSON TO COOK
AS Steve Cook discovered, not even the darkest of defensive arts can stop Mo Salah when he’s in this sort of form.
Bournemouth were already trailing to a Salah strike – one which, admittedly, should have been ruled out for offside – when the Egyptian got in behind the home defence after the break.
Cook resorted to one of the oldest tricks in the book as Salah ran through on goal, scraping his studs down the Liverpool man’s Achilles. It was the sort of challenge that would have seen plenty of others go down looking for a penalty.
But not Salah.
He stayed on his feet, steadied himself and slotted a fine finish past Asmir Begovic.
Salah (below) didn’t bother with a celebration, choosing instead to give Cook the death stare.
Not that he was looking – the Bournemouth man bowed his head in what was surely acceptance that he’d been done by one of the best players in our game.
Poor old Cook had a torrid afternoon trying to keep the Liverpool forward at bay and his misery was compounded when he turned home Andy Robertson’s cross for the visitors’ third.
It was some finish from the defender, to be fair, a kind of Cruyff-turn-volley which gave Begovic no chance. Cook wasn’t finished there, though, and just when he thought things couldn’t get much worse he lunged towards Adam Lallana’s through-ball.
He succeeded only in pushing it into Salah’s path, however, and that was all the invitation the striker needed to complete his hat-trick in glorious fashion.
Salah put Begovic on his backside, then did it again for good measure as he twisted one way then the other. And he finished things off with a nonchalant flick with the outside of his left boot with Nathan Ake stranded on the goal-line.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe conceded: “Salah was very good. He looked razor-sharp. We did struggle to handle him. He’s one of the best in the world.”
And Liverpool boss Jurgen
Klopp added: “Eddie Howe is one of the best managers I have ever met, so how could I say something different?
“Whatever you do in a football game you need somebody to finish it off, and what Mo did around his two goals in the second half was just exceptional.
“The first is a foul but he wants to score goals and stands on his feet and scores it. His third goal is outstanding again. How he set it up was good.”
Cook wasn’t the only Bournemouth player off-colour and even if they’d had Callum Wilson in their side – he was ruled out with a hamstring injury – there’s little chance the outcome would have been different.
This victory made it 17 games unbeaten for Liverpool and was a great way for James Milner, handed the captain’s armband with Jordan Henderson on the bench, to celebrate his 500th Premier League game.
Two-time title winner Milner has played with some wonderful talents in a fine career and it’s unlikely he’ll rate too many better than Salah.
Bournemouth looked jittery early on and several times Liverpool’s pressing forced turnovers.
Howe was frustrated after replays showed Salah was offside when Firmino shot.
He said: “The first goal had a massive bearing on the game.
“Liverpool hadn’t opened us up at that point and the goal shouldn’t have stood.”
Bournemouth 0 Liverpool 4 Tom Hopkinson
I’M STILL STANDING:Salah stays on his feet to score his second CAP: try to make it full out !!!!!!!!!