Liverpool’s impressive display against Bournemouth on Saturday has resulted in four of their players earning a spot in Garth Crooks’ Team of the Week.
The team’s dominant performance sent a resounding message to their title competitors, as they accelerated in the second half against the Cherries. This victory, marking their 14th of the season, has widened the gap at the summit of the Premier League to five points.
The convincing 4-0 win was orchestrated by Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota, both of whom secured braces and secured spots in Crooks’ final XI. Joining them in the esteemed lineup are midfielder Alexis Mac Allister and center-back Ibrahima Konate.
Ibrahima Konate’s stellar defensive prowess alongside Virgil van Dijk did not go unnoticed. In his column on the BBC Sport website, Crooks highlighted the French defender’s imperious form during the match.
“If Sunday’s match at Bournemouth had been a boxing match, the referee would have stopped it. The hosts never laid a glove on Liverpool, who were comfortable 4-0 winners. The Reds dominated possession, while Konate and Virgil van Dijk never gave Dominic Solanke, Justin Kluivert or Luis Sinisterra a kick.
“Konate is looking more accomplished the more I see him. He was immense against Arsenal in the FA Cup earlier this month without Van Dijk by his side, and even better against Bournemouth. He is starting to look every inch a Liverpool captain of the future.”
Mac Allister, the midfielder who played a key role in the Reds’ World Cup triumph, showcased what could be considered his finest performance in a Liverpool jersey at the Vitality Stadium.
Consistently dominating the midfield, he initiated attacks with precise forward passes. Crooks was left pondering why Jurgen Klopp invested a record amount in acquiring Moises Caicedo for Anfield when he had already secured the services of Mac Allister at a significantly lower cost.
Crooks wrote: “Mac Allister was absolutely superb in midfield. He never complicated matters, and played the most exquisite passes at the right time. Since the departures of Georginio Wijnaldum, Fabinho and Jordan Henderson, Liverpool have struggled to fill the defensive midfield role. I never thought Thiago worked there, as even when he played well, he slowed the tempo of the team to almost walking pace.
“Mac Allister is a different animal entirely. He moves the ball on, retaining the pace of Liverpool’s play, and the quality of his passing is excellent. He’s an exceptional player bought at an exceptional price. Why Liverpool were prepared to pay around £111m for Moises Caicedo when Mac Alister only cost half that figure is baffling. In terms of value for money, there is no comparison between the two players.”
Crooks included Liverpool’s goal scorers into his team, resulting in a final XI that strongly leaned towards Anfield. The BBC pundit defended his choice without apology, emphasizing the numerous qualities that Nunez and Jota contributed to what was a notable victory.
Crooks said: “At the risk of running out of superlatives to describe Liverpool’s performance at Bournemouth, I thought Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota’s link-up play was superb. I must say that Jota is more inclined to look for Nunez than the other way round but then the Portugal international is a little more creative. His assist for Nunez’s first goal was brilliantly perceptive, a wonderful through ball.
“Nunez, might not be prolific in front of goal but has all the elements to become a world-class striker. He’s a very willing runner and a handful for any defence. Salah’s absence may be a blessing in disguise for Nunez, who needs the space to grow and might get it now.”
He also offered a bit of advice to the Reds’ manager, by adding: “If I were Klopp, I would refrain from showing all this concern about (Mohamed) Salah’s hamstring injury sustained while playing for his country and tell him to take his time getting fit, to enjoy the African sunshine, and add that there’s no need to rush back.”
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