Liverpool beat Bournemouth despite Mac Allister red

Liverpool coped despite Alexis Mac Allister’s second-half red card to beat Bournemouth 3-1 and get their season fully up and running.

Antoine Semenyo had given the Cherries a shock lead on three minutes but Jurgen Klopp’s side found their groove with goals from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah – scoring after his penalty was saved – handing them a first-half advantage.

Things could have become tricky when Mac Allister, making his Anfield debut, was dismissed for a high challenge on Ryan Christie on 58 minutes but if anything Liverpool went up another gear with 10 players.

Alexis Mac Allister leaves the field after receiving a red card
Image: Alexis Mac Allister leaves the field after receiving a red card

Diogo Jota took advantage of some poor goalkeeping from Neto to make it 3-1 as Klopp found a way to hand a debut to new signing Wataru Endo off the bench, who joined in a deal worth £16.2m.

Reds roar back from behind…

The Cherries were thrashed 9-0 on their last visit to Anfield but after storming to survival last season, there is expectation of a stress-free season away from relegation under new boss Andoni Iraola.

Player ratings

Liverpool: Alisson (7), Robertson (7), Van Dijk (7), Konate (7), Alexander-Arnold (7), Mac Allister (5), Szoboszlai (8), Gakpo (7), Jota (7), Salah (8), Diaz (8)

Subs: Endo (7), Gomez (7), Elliot (N/A), Nunez (N/A)

Bournemouth: Neto (6), Aarons (6), Senesi (6), Zabarnyi (6), Kerkez (6), Christie (6), Billing (6), Rothwell (7), Semenyo (8), Anthony (7), Solanke (6)

Subs: Moore (5), Traore (6), Kluivert (6), Kelly (6)

Player of the match: Luis Diaz

They started confidently and Jaidon Anthony had the ball in the net inside 90 seconds but he was flagged offside. Liverpool didn’t heed that warning as with their next attack Bournemouth were in front when Semenyo blasted home after Trent Alexander-Arnold was robbed of possession inside his own half.

It took time for Liverpool to stage a response but it came through the dynamic Diaz, who has kicked off the season in devilish form in front of goal. He grabbed his second of the campaign already with two brilliant touches in the box that saw him fire past an unsighted Neto.

The powerful running of Dominik Szoboszlai impressed again – and he was to the fore before the break to win a penalty as Joe Rothwell dangled a lazy leg in his direction just inside the box.

Salah stepped up but was denied by Neto, meaning he’s now missed three of his last five penalties, however, the ball dropped kindly to the winger on the rebound and he lashed it home. Salah is now Liverpool’s fifth all-time top-goalscorer with 187 goals, overtaking Steven Gerrard.

Mo Salah celebrates after giving Liverpool a 2-1 lead against Bournemouth
Image: Mo Salah celebrates after giving Liverpool a 2-1 lead against Bournemouth

A third goal looked on the horizon but the potential momentum in the game swung Bournemouth’s way on 58 minutes when Mac Allister was given his marching orders. His block tackle on Christie did lack any real intent to hurt the player but it was high and did contact the Scot’s shin.

Referee Thomas Brammall’s decision wasn’t overturned by VAR.

That shift of momentum failed to materialise. Instead, it was Liverpool that went up another level and six minutes later, the game was safe. Jota was on hand to gobble up a tap-in after Szoboszlai’s effort from range was clumsily spilled by Neto.

Endo got his first minutes in a Liverpool shirt, helping to preserve Liverpool’s advantage. Alisson was called upon to make two late saves from Justin Kluivert and Hamed Traore but a comeback never looked like materialising.

The Reds are up and running.

‘Mac Allister went in high, catching him on shin’

Former Premier League referee Dean speaking on Soccer Saturday:

“He’s gone in quite high. There’s not a lot of force in the challenge but he has caught him quite high. It’s just a lazy leg.

“He probably doesn’t need to make the challenge. He has caught him on the shin.

“It’s not a wrong decision by the referee. He’s gone in with his studs showing and he’s caught him on the shin.

“VAR would have looked at it. They’re happy with Tom’s [referee Thomas Brammall] decision and the game moves on.”

Klopp: Everything is lacking for a red card

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp hints the club may appeal the red card shown to Alexis Mac Allister during their game with Bourmenouth

Jurgen Klopp speaking to Sky Sports:

“It was a horrible start. I thought the offside goal would be a wakeup call but then to concede again was not cool. Then we shook it off, scored two good goals and played really good football. The game then changed completely with us losing a man but we scored the third goal which was helpful and gave us energy.

On Mac Allister red card: “We have to talk about it and everyone agrees. I 100 per cent understand how it looks for the ref in that moment but when you see it back it’s the inside of the foot with no power in it. We’ve seen harsher challenges that weren’t red cards that should’ve been. I think we should talk about it. If he said it was a yellow, the VAR wouldn’t have upgraded to a red card. Everything is lacking for a red card, the intensity. Yes, there was contact but there must be a different intention when it’s a red card. We will talk to the people about it.”

Analysis: Dynamic Diaz feels like a new signing

Star man: Luis Diaz
Image: Star man: Luis Diaz

Sky Sports’ Lewis Jones:

“All the transfer talk for Liverpool has centred on their centre. Midfielders, specifically. Mac Allister, Szoboszlai and Endo are all part of the important rebuild in the Klopp engine room which has had mixed reviews over the first two weekends. Yet, the most important new spark in this Liverpool is the return of a fully-fit, fully functioning and fully at full throttle Diaz.

“The Colombian winger limped out of the 3-2 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last October and only made it back to play in four of the final six Premier League games. That might have proved to have been the start of his pre-season as he has started this campaign at the top of his game, running powerfully and purposefully in both of Liverpool’s opening games. His goal at Chelsea was clinically taken – something which is a common theme when he has chances in front of goal, as seen by his finish here.

“One touch to flick the ball up and one touch to power it past Neto. That takes him to 15 goal involvements in 32 Premier League appearances (10 goals/5 assists) – a figure which will be on the rise this season in an electric Klopp attack.”

Opta: Trent joins 200 club

  • Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 13 Premier League games at Anfield (W10 D3), while they haven’t lost their first home game of a top-flight campaign in any of the last 20 seasons (W15 D5) – a run dating back to the start of 2004-05.
  • Semenyo’s opener for Bournemouth (2:30) was the quickest goal scored by an away side at Anfield in the Premier League since May 2022 (Wolves’ Pedro Neto – 2:11), and the fifth-quickest that Liverpool have conceded at home in the competition under Jürgen Klopp.
  • Alexander-Arnold made his 200th appearance in the Premier League (24y 316d), becoming the second-youngest player in Liverpool’s history to reach this milestone in the competition (after Michael Owen in 2004 – 24y 034d).

What’s next?

Liverpool’s next game is away to Newcastle in the Premier League on Sunday August 27, live on Sky Sports – kick-off 4.30pm.

Sunday 27th August 4:00pm Kick off 4:30pm

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Jurgen Klopp’s side then host Aston Villa on Sunday September 3 – kick-off 2pm.

Bournemouth are next in action on Saturday when they host Tottenham in the Premier League – kick-off 12.30pm.

The Cherries then travel to Swansea in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday August 29 – kick-off 7.45pm.

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