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Ruthless Liverpool put four past Bournemouth

Philippe Coutinho opened the scoring in the 20th minute by slaloming through the right-hand side of Bournemouth’s defence and finding the bottom corner with a composed finish.

Liverpool's Roberto Firmino (2nd L) celebrates with the game's other goal-scorers, Mohamed Salah (L), Philippe Coutinho (2nd R) and Dejan Lovren (R) after scoring their fourth goal during the English Premier League football match against Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium in Bournemouth, southern England on 17 December 2017. Picture: AFP

LONDON - Philippe Coutinho and Mohamed Salah scored fine individual goals as Liverpool moved back into the top four of the Premier League with a ruthless 4-0 win over Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

Coutinho opened the scoring in the 20th minute by slaloming through the right-hand side of Bournemouth’s defence and finding the bottom corner with a composed finish.

Dejan Lovren doubled the lead with a close-range diving header six minutes later and Salah made it 3-0 a minute before halftime by skipping past fullback Charlie Daniels in the right channel and beating goalkeeper Asmir Begovic with a neat left-foot shot.

Coutinho crossed for fellow Brazilian Roberto Firmino to head Liverpool’s fourth in the 66th minute.

Salah’s goal was his 20th this season in all competitions and put him two clear of Tottenham Hotspur’s Harry Kane at the top of the Premier League scoring charts on 14.

Liverpool are now unbeaten in nine league matches and have moved up to fourth in the standings, one point ahead of Arsenal, who drop to fifth. Bournemouth have not won in six games in the league and remain 16th, one point above the relegation zone.

”I‘m really pleased about pretty much everything,“ Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp said. ”We knew how Bournemouth can play football if you let them. Our tactical discipline was good.

“We scored a fantastic first goal, forced the second goal, scored a world-class third goal and then the fourth was a fantastic cross and a fantastic header. It was really well-deserved and I enjoyed it.”

Liverpool dominated the match and would have won by a greater margin had Coutinho not seen an 11th-minute free-kick hit the inside of the post and rebound across goal. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Ings also struck the post for the visitors in the second half.

Bournemouth were offered a route back into the match with the score at 2-0, but Jermain Defoe’s low strike hit the post and ricocheted to safety.

“We didn’t get our game going today and when you don’t perform against the top teams, you’re going to get punished,” Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe said. “It was very disappointing for us today.”

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