It was Roberto Firmino’s back heel that told you the swagger was back. The move to play in the Brazilian had also been a thing of beauty, Sadio Mane finding Naby Keita whose long range pass was perfectly weighted. That in itself was an improvement on recent games.
Sadio Mane was not as blatantly offside as James Milner had been before teeing up the Senegal forward against West Ham on Monday.
But Mane looked fractionally ahead of play as Milner sent in the cross which he then headed into the net to settle the Reds’ nerves at Anfield.
Although Gini Wijnaldum put Liverpool in control with a brilliant second 10 minutes later, Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe – and Manchester City – will have reason to complain about the helping hand Jurgen Klopp’steam were given back to the top of the table.
Liverpool did nothing for their fans’ nerves by allowing Ryan Fraser a sight of goal in the second minute, with Alisson pushing away the Scot’s effort.
But soon the pattern of the game was established, with the home side enjoying lots of possession but struggling to find a way through organised opponents who were happy to sit deep.
Artur Boruc made a decent stop from Roberto Firmino, but it took a corner to bring Liverpool’s opener.
Milner’s first effort was poor but his second attempt was headed powerfully home by Mane.
Even then, Liverpool still looked a bit nervous, with Mo Salah totally fluffing a decent chance.
But then Wijnaldum ran on to a lovely pass by Andy Robertson and dinked the ball over Nathan Ake and Boruc beautifully.
Only a brilliant Boruc save stopped Salah making it 3-0 just before the break and it was only a brief reprieve.
Soon after the interval, Keita found Firmino with a lovely pass and the Brazilian backheeled it into the Egyptian’s path. This time, Salah slotted the ball home calmly.
Bournemouth looked done, accepting another comprehensive defeat by the Reds. But Liverpool could not find another goal, with Mane and Keita failing to hit the target when well placed, and Salah striking the crossbar.