Liverpool hit nine in ruthless rout of Bournemouth to end winless run

Scott Elliott celebrated his son’s first Premier League goal by launching his jacket 20 feet into the air and several rows down from his Main Stand seat. Harvey’s proud father eventually got the jacket back and Liverpool, after a midweek dressing down from Jürgen Klopp, got their season back on track in record fashion too.

Having invited questions over their winless start, including from their own manager after Monday’s tame loss at Manchester United, Liverpool responded in emphatic, ruthless style.

Talk about venting frustration. True, Bournemouth were abject and perfect fodder for a team needing a first win of the campaign. But in terms of intensity, penetration and pure enjoyment of the ball Liverpool could not have delivered a finer show to banish doubt and signal their self-belief remains intact. And of course their quality.

“It was the perfect football afternoon for us with a lot of different goalscorers, wonderful goals and fantastic situations,” said Klopp, who, when asked to sum up the performance in one word, replied: “Needed.” He added: “We all know we needed something like that. We had to prove a point for ourselves.”

Liverpool were rampant from the off, five goals ahead by half-time –for the first time in a league game at Anfield since 1958 – and equalled their record league win – against Crystal Palace in 1989 – with something to spare. And Mohamed Salah didn’t score.

The rout started and finished with a Luis Díaz header but this was a day to savour the enduring class of Roberto Firmino. The Brazil international produced three assists and a goal in the opening 31 minutes and, to be blunt, extracted the Michael out of Scott Parker’s outclassed team.

The hosts started the destruction after 151 seconds. An opening goal had been coming even then. Firmino, having broken through the wafer-thin resistance in Bournemouth’s midfield, bent a delightful cross into the area for the soaring Díaz to head beyond Mark Travers. An exhausting and humiliating afternoon for the keeper had just begun.

A second arrived on six minutes when Díaz, Elliott and Salah combined on the right. The Egypt international’s cross struck Firmino and Elliott swept a superb left-foot finish into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

The midfielder excelled for the 45 minutes he was on the pitch, his touch and movement far superior to anything in the visiting ranks, but he was replaced as a precaution at the interval by a fellow 19-year-old, Fabio Carvalho. The fine strike was not the only reason for his father’s elation.

In the ninth minute there was a moving ovation for Olivia Pratt-Korbel, the nine-year-old girl shot dead inside her home in Liverpool on Monday. Jordan Henderson wore a vest that read: “RIP Olivia YNWA” and dedicated victory to the murdered child.

Salah prodded wide of an open goal after a slick exchange between Díaz, Firmino and Elliott and missed another glorious opportunity from six yards in the second half. Keeping Salah quiet was Bournemouth’s only consolation.

Trent Alexander-Arnold’s defending has been under the spotlight since the opening seconds of the season. It was never tested here, although he was able to exhibit his attacking process with a stunning third goal when breaking through Bournemouth’s midfield and following Anfield’s instruction to shoot after a one-two with Firmino. He let fly with an unstoppable 25-yard drive that beat Travers purely for pace.

Firmino grabbed the goal his performance richly deserved when Salah’s pass inadvertently looped off Chris Mepham and sailed into Bournemouth’s six-yard box. Liverpool’s centre-forward twisted to beat Travers with an acrobatic volley. It was five on the stroke of half-time when Virgil van Dijk easily held off a defender to head home an Andy Robertson corner.

Whatever Parker’s interval instructions were to his team, they had absolutely no effect. They conceded within seconds of the restart when the hapless Mepham, stretching to clear an Alexander-Arnold cross before Díaz, put it into his own net.

Firmino claimed a second when Travers parried Robertson’s dangerous cross into his path, the Brazilian scoring from close range at the second attempt, and Carvalho scored his first Premier League goal for Liverpool when volleying home another Alexander-Arnold cross that steered into his path by Kostas Tsimikas. Díaz ended the exhibition as he had opened it, scoring with a header from the substitute Tsimikas’s corner.

There was time for Klopp to hand debuts to Stefan Bajcetic and Bobby Clark, son of Lee, as the Kop implored Liverpool to score a record-breaking 10th. They were unable to answer the call. There were no complaints.