Liverpool survive red card scare to crush Cherries at Anfield

Salah, Diaz and Jota inspire deserved victory over Bournemouth

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Liverpool were twice forced to overcome adversity before banking their first three points of the new season against Bournemouth at Anfield.

The lively visitors made an aggressive start and took the lead through Antoine Semenyo's powerful strike.

That seemed to rouse the Reds and by half-time they had taken a 2-1 lead thanks to Luis Diaz's clever finish and Mohamed Salah, who was alive to hoover up the rebound after seeing his penalty saved.

Alexis Mac Allister was then a little unfortunate to see red for his tackle on Ryan Christie, but no sooner had they been reduced to 10 men, Liverpool extended their lead to 3-1 through Diogo Jota.

At the heart of everything good for the hosts was Hungary international Dominik Szoboszlai, a summer recruit from RB Leipzig, who seemed to relish his first appearance at Anfield.

"I am feeling tired but really happy that I could make the first home game in front of the fans," said the 22-year-old midfielder. "The win is the most important and now we are looking forward to the next game.

"Sometimes we start strong, sometimes we start like this. The best thing was the reaction from the whole team. Some of us made some mistakes but the reaction was unbelievable. We scored a quick goal and scored again. And also the red card and after the reaction was also really good. We are looking forward.

"I just enjoy playing football. These guys have so much quality and we understand each other so good. I hope I can play as much as possible."

The home crowd might have been rabid ahead of their first glimpse of Premier League action this term, but they were soon sat in stunned silence.

A positive start from the visitors was rewarded with the opening goal, although some sloppy Liverpool defending certainly played its part.

Virgil van Dijk's loose pass put Trent Alexander-Arnold under pressure and he was robbed in midfield. Dominic Solanke was the first to try his luck with an effort that was blocked, but Semenyo followed up with a fizzing low shot across goal.

His somersault celebration was memorable – but it was the scoreline that was next to flip.

First Jota fed Diaz and his brilliantly improvised flick-up and volley finish levelled matters before Joe Rothwell tripped Szoboszlai and the referee pointed to the spot.

The visitors felt it was soft and may have had a case, but Salah didn't care as he tucked away the rebound after Neto had saved his initial effort.

The hosts had upped the tempo and, having been rattled in the early stages, now had the upper hand.

Semenyo and Jota traded missed chances early in the second half before a red card for Mac Allister - harshly awarded for a tackle on Christie - briefly gave the visitors hope.

The Reds brought on new signing Wataru Endo to plug the gap in their midfield, but amid the reshuffle Jota's poacher's finish suddenly gave them breathing space.

Neto coughed up the impressive Szoboszlai's deflected shot and the Portuguese forward had the simple task of tapping home Liverpool's third.

The visitors tried in vain to get back in the game, Hamed Traore forcing a terrific save from Alisson in the closing stages.

Updated: August 19, 2023, 7:31 PM