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Liverpool FC: Setting the benchmark with the magnificent 22


The season is upon us once more and with it, Liverpool can continue their formidable streak at Anfield which has seen win after win after win.

With the restart of our season only a day away, I thought it would be a good time to remind ourselves about the truly magnificent record the Reds achieved in that final game before the enforced break.

It was over three months ago, on Saturday, March 7, that this magnificent version of Liverpool FC broke their own record of 21 successive home wins. The run is the culmination of a three-year unbeaten home run stretching back to March 2017, in which 63 goals have been scored and just 14 conceded.

Fittingly, it was Mo Salah who opened Liverpool’s account in that historic 22nd game against Bournemouth with his 70th goal in 100 Liverpool games – the fastest player ever to that total.

So let’s take a look at how the historic 22 game-winning run unfolded:

 

Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth (Feb 9, 2019)

Liverpool’s already long home unbeaten run had been gathering pace. A run of seven successive wins had disappointingly come to an end with a 1-1 draw against Leicester, but it didn’t take long for the Reds to get back to winning ways against the always accommodating Bournemouth.

I reckon if you asked Eddie Howe to park an actual bus, he’d crash it into a wall. He simply doesn’t know how.

On 24 minutes, a pin-point cross from that flying right-winger of ours, James Milner, allowed Sadio Mane to head powerfully home for 1-0. Ten minutes later a forward ball from Robertson found Gini Wijnaldum who produced a sublime chip over the ‘keeper. A stunned Van Dijk held up his hands in a ‘how the f*** did he do that?’ kind of way.

Three minutes into the second half it was game over as some brilliant, trademark Brazilian footwork from Bobby saw a ball played perfectly for Mo Salah to do what he always does against Bournemouth.

We didn’t know it at the time, but Liverpool’s record-breaking run had begun.

 

Liverpool 5-0 Watford (Feb 27, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, February 27, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by Paul Greenwood/Propaganda)

Milner, once again in the right-wing position played a reverse pass to Trent, who curled a sumptuous ball in for Sadio Mane to head home the opener once again. The goal equalled Mane’s then-record tally for a season of 13.

He was to make it 14 with his sixth goal in his last five Anfield appearances. Trent crossed once more, Sade miss-controlled but then produced the most delightful, impudent chipped back heel you are ever likely to see.

Salah then wiggled free and hit the post, before Dvock Origi cut in from the left and fired a low shot into the bottom corner for number three.

Alisson pulled off a point-blank world-class save, before Trent – yet again – curled another beauty, this time for Van Dijk to head home. Trent became the youngest ever player to assist three goals in one game.

Not to be outdone, it was then Andy Robertson’s turn to provide another towering Van Dijk header for goal number five. Liverpool were simply unplayable on the day.

 

Liverpool 4-2 Burnley (Mar 10, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, March 9, 2019: Liverpool's Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring the first equalising goal with team-mates during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Burnley FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With less than six minutes on the clock, Anfield was stunned as Ashley Westwood scored directly from a corner while Alisson was being assaulted on his line by a Burnley hit squad. Sean Dyche saw it all as perfectly legal. It wasn’t, but the goal stood.

Merely 13 minutes later, Salah crosses, the Burnley defender and goalkeeper collide and Bobby Firmino equalizes.

On 28 minutes, Adam Lallana busted a gut to make a sensational sliding tackle in the Burnley final third. Salah is tackled, but Mane curls in the loose ball to put Liverpool ahead.

Midway through the second term, Heaton’s poor goal kick is pounced upon by Salah. Again, he is tackled but this time the ball runs loose for Firmino to grab his second and Liverpool’s third.

On cruise control and the clock ticking past 90 minutes, Gudmundsson profits from Liverpool’s lethargy by slotting home after some pin-balling in the box. It’s now squeaky bum time, but two minutes later, Daniel Sturridge plays the pass of the game into the path of Mane who skips past Heaton and seals the points.

 

Liverpool 2-1 Spurs (March 31, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, March 31, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after his header forced a winning goal, an own goal from Tottenham Hotspur's Toby Alderweireld with team-mate Roberto Firmino during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s hard to imagine now, but back then this was actually an in-form Tottenham team with a very good manager.

Fifteen minutes in and a sumptuous curling cross by Robertson is headed into the bottom corner by the on-rushing Firmino; three Spurs central defenders trailed in his wake.

On 55 minutes a Kane shot is parried and as Ericksen comes storming in looking certain to score, Robertson adds a world-class block to his world-class assist. It was end to end stuff at this point.

Salah, who at this point had just one goal in his last ten games, was wasteful in his desperation to find the target and that wastefulness came back to haunt us as Tripper found Eriksen who scuffed a cross to Lucas Moura to score. 1-1.

Back came Liverpool. A Trent looping shot was tipped over; a corner was scrambled into Hugo Lloris’s arms. Time was almost up.

In the 85th minute, with Liverpool pressing, Spurs broke clear. Sissoko and Son versus Virgil Van Dijk. What happened next was the defensive moment of the season as our No. 4 blocked off the path to Son while at the same time ushering Sissoko on to his weak left foot. He blasted over. It was a watershed moment.

On 89 mins and 26 secs, a speculative cross found Salah’s head. His weak header was straight at Lloris who chose to parry rather than catch. In doing so, he inadvertently parried the ball onto the leg of the backtracking Toby Alderweireld who watched in horror as the ball trickled over the line for a dramatic Liverpool win.

 

Liverpool 2-0 Chelsea (Apr 14, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, April 14, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Chelsea FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

An emotional day as the 30th anniversary of Hillsborough took centre stage at a sombre Anfield, where a ’30 Years’ mosaic accompanied the minute’s silence.

Liverpool reacted by taking the game to Chelsea only for chance after chance to go begging. A nervous 0-0 was the half time score.

The nerves were settled just five minutes into the second half as a clipped Henderson cross was nodded home by an unmarked Mane. And 142 seconds later and with the stadium rocking, the unshackled Salah unleashed an absolute rocket into the top corner. Cue, Anfield pandemonium.

Hazard then contrived to hit the post when clean through on 58 minutes and missed an absolute sitter moments later. Chelsea were having a go, but it was too little too late and it was five home wins in a row for Liverpool.

 

Liverpool 5-0 Huddersfield (Apr 26, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, April 26, 2019: Liverpool's Sadio Mane scores the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Huddersfield Town AFC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Liverpool now attaining an air of invincibility after six straight wins, cannon-fodder Huddersfield rolled into town. The talk of a banana skin from a side desperate for points was dispelled after exactly 14 seconds when the Terriers’ defender was mugged by Naby Keita, who fed Salah, who fed Keita to scuff it home. 1-0.

On 22 minutes a classic Robertson cross is headed home by Mane. Not to be outdone, in first-half injury time Trent clipped the ball over the top to Salah who clipped it over the onrushing keeper for a comfortable 3-0 half time lead.

Huddersfield came out fighting in the second half but to no avail. In the 65th minute, Henderson bent in a right-wing cross for Mane to head home. It was his 20th of an outstanding season.

The Ox came on to join the party for his first appearance since his long-term injury and almost scored with his first touch. He could afford a smile.

Mane headed a hat-trick sitter on to a post, so it was left to Mo Salah to tap home the fifth after yet another pinpoint Robertson cross. This was the assist that equalled the best-ever total by a defender. He would go on to beat it.

 

Liverpool 2-0 Wolves (May 12, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, May 12, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp after the final FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s the final game of the season and Liverpool are aiming to make it nine in a row and possibly pip City for the title. It came just days after the heroics against Barcelona so a party atmosphere was guaranteed.

It took just 16 minutes for the party to get started. Trent, yet again, crossed for Mane to blast home. Wolves responded. Matt Doherty hit the crossbar just before half time to up the Anfield nerves a little.

An Origi blast deflected off Coady’s back from eight yards midway through the second half before Alisson saved a one-on-one with Diogo Jota soon after. The same player headed into Alisson’s grateful hands three minutes later from point-blank range. It was too close for comfort.

With ten minutes remaining, another sensational Trent cross was headed home by a stooping Mane to earn him a share of the Golden Boot along with Salah.

Van Dijk then hit the crossbar as the game was played out to noisy celebrations. The ninth successive win had been accomplished; 97 points had been achieved.

Now it was on to Madrid where a Sixth European Cup would crown a magnificent season.

 

Liverpool 4-1 Norwich (Aug 9, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Friday, August 9, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the second goal during the opening FA Premier League match of the season between Liverpool FC and Norwich City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The European Champions stepped out for the new season to the adoration of the Anfield faithful, and the newly promoted Canaries standing in the way of ten successive Premier League wins.

A spirited and classy looking Norwich side shot themselves in the foot with a seventh-minute own goal from Grant Hanley. Naivety on the visitor’s part then took centre stage as Salah, Van Dijk and Origi helped themselves to a goal each before half time.

A 4-0 half time lead meant the game was all but over. Norwich earned themselves a touch of respectability with a Teemu Pukki goal, but the result, and that tenth successive victory, was never in doubt.

It was a display that was not only to prove indicative of Liverpool’s season but the Canaries’ too.

 

Liverpool 3-1 Arsenal (Aug 24, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 24, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s always fun hosting Arsenal these days.

Their last six visits to Anfield prior to this particular game had seen them concede 22 times. Their previous two trips had seen them beaten 5-1 and 4-0.

We didn’t have it quite all our own way early on. An Adrian miskick saw Aubameyang loop a long chip fractionally wide. The game was fast and even at this stage, but thankfully Arsenal’s insistence on playing out from the back – which they are patently incapable of doing – helped us out immensely. Unai Emery also decided that allowing Robertson and Trent the freedom of Anfield was a good idea. It wasn’t.

But it was Arsenal who almost took the lead as Jordan Henderson gave the ball away in midfield and Pepe raced through. He fluffed his lines.

Finally, five minutes from the break, yet another Liverpool set-piece goal proved to be the key that unlocked Arsenal. Matip rose gloriously to power home Trent’s out-swinging corner.

That was all it took for Arsenal’s renowned soft underbelly to be exposed. Newly acquired comedic defender David Luiz inexplicably pulled Salah back in the box, before being bamboozled by the same player minutes later. Salah bagged a quickfire brace, and from 1-0, suddenly it was 3-0 and a typical Arsenal implosion was in full effect.

Lucas Torreira pulled back a late consolation, but consecutive win number 12 – a new club record – was achieved with minimum fuss, while Liverpool’s unbeaten league run at home now stood at 42.

 

Liverpool 3-1 Newcastle (Sep 14, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 14, 2019: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp embraces Roberto Firmino after the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

With Rafa by now replaced by the hapless Steve Bruce, Newcastle were never likely to repeat the blood and thunder performance of four months prior, and so it proved.

It didn’t exactly start that way as Jetro Willems blasted a beauty into the top corner of Adrian’s net, causing a frenzy of wobbly topless Geordie men to be seen breakdancing in the Anfield Road end.

Liverpool with Origi in place of Bobby Firmino lacked their usual fluency, but Mane pounced on a Robertson pass and levelled with yet another brilliant curled finish.

Origi then went off with an unfortunate injury, replaced by Firmino, who was to go on to have one of the greatest cameos of recent times.

He was simply breathtaking and Newcastle not only lacked answers to his brilliance, but they also didn’t even know what questions to ask.

It was his through ball on 39 minutes that saw Mane dink us in front, and his world-class double flick to Mo Salah that put the game beyond any doubt. In between, Wijnaldum almost scored th goal of the season, and Emil Krafth blasted over an excellent opportunity.

Liverpool excelled, Firmino was astonishing and it was 14 wins out of 14.

 

Liverpool 2-1 Leicester (Oct 5, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, October 5, 2019: Liverpool's James Milner celebrates after scoring the winning second goal, an injury time penalty, during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Leicester City FC at Anfield. Liverpool won 2-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Leicester were the last team to take a point at Anfield, and they’d started the season well.

Liverpool fluffed their lines for a while, with Milner blasting over a great chance and Firmino just unable to reach yet another amazing Trent cross.

The breakthrough came on 40 minutes with Mane put clean through and finishing with that trademark far-post side-footer.

After missing a series of decent chances, Anfield was stunned on 89 minutes when James Maddison fired home Leicester’s first effort on target.

But with 94 minutes on the clock, Marc Albrighton, with little danger ensuing, miss-controlled in his own box – Mane pounced and Albrighton’s desperation meant he rashly kicked him in the back of the calf.

Up stepped the iceman, and James Milner won it at the death. Liverpool moved on to 17 successive league wins.

 

Liverpool 2-1 Spurs (Oct 27, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, October 27, 2019: Liverpool's captain Jordan Henderson celebrates scoring the first goal to equalise the score at 1-1 during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Tottenham Hotspur FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

After a mere 50 seconds, Dejan Lovren put his hands behind his back, headed Son’s powerful drive on to the post and Harry Kane stooped to head in the rebound. Not a good mix is our Dejan and Spurs.

Hugo Lloris then proceeded to thwart everything Liverpool threw at him. Then, right at the start of the second half, Son, clean through but from an angle, hit the underside of the bar. It was a huge let-off.

Not long after the second-half restarted, there was tangible relief as Henderson shinned a cross-goal shot beyond Lloris and into the bottom corner. Cue that wild Hendo celebration; the one matched only by your dog when you’ve left him alone in the house all day. It was the captain’s first Anfield goal since 2015.

On 75 minutes, a typically awkward Aurier challenge saw him do an ‘Albrighton’ and kick Mane’s shin as he once again nipped in at exactly the right time. Up stepped Liverpool’s supremely confident secondary penalty taker, Mo Salah, and he dispatched with minimum fuss.

 

Liverpool 3-1 Man City (Nov 10, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 10, 2019: Liverpool's Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

A title decider in November? Well, maybe not, but whoever was to win it was to have a huge psychological advantage.

Up stepped the ever-improving Fabinho in minute six to hit an absolute rocket that Bravo could only say, well, ‘bravo’ as it flew past him like an Exocet.

City meant business, and were not just threatening, they were REALLY threatening. That is until Andy Robertson curled an absolute corker past the entire City defence and Salah stooped to conquer.

Henderson then produced a world-class cross from around the corner flag to the head of Mane who made it 3-0 in the 51st minute.

Angelino hit the post as Liverpool decided to hold on to what they had, before Bernardo Silva got the nerves jangling a little with what, thankfully, turned out to be nothing more than a 78th-minute consolation.

A City win would have seen Liverpool’s lead over them cut to just three points. This result made it nine.

 

Liverpool 2-1 Brighton (Nov 30, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, November 30, 2019: Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk celebrates scoring the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brighton & Hove Albion FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The expected routine win began on-script with Van Dijk’s towering header from yet another pinpoint Trent cross putting the Reds ahead after only 18 minutes. Six minutes later, the same duo repeated their party piece and the game looked to be in the bag.

Then, a rush of blood from Alisson saw him sent off for deliberate handball outside the area.

Adrian was introduced, and as the poor lad was still arranging his gloves, his head and the wall, good old Martin Atkinson allowed Lewis Dunk to side foot a daisy-cutter into the empty net. It was typical Atkinson, but once again his efforts to undermine us were in vain as the 10-man Reds held on.

 

Liverpool 5-2 Everton (Dec 4, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, December 4, 2019: Liverpools Divock Origi scores the third goal past Everton's goalkeeper Jordan Pickford during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Everton FC, the 234th Merseyside Derby, at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

In one of the poorest Everton displays in any derby, ever, Liverpool ran riot. Origi was given a rare start and did what he does best when playing the blues. After six minutes, he rounded Pickford with ease from a lovely Mane through ball and fired home.

Another rare starter, Xherdan Shaqiri produced an excellent reverse finish from another gorgeous Mane assist. Liverpool were cruising.

Out of the blue, Everton got the luck of a few ricochets in the box and Michael Keane capitalised.

Ten minutes later, a long ball saw the Everton defence all at sea again, Origi took the ball beautifully out of the sky and calmly chipped the ball over the hopeless Pickford.

The brilliant Mane side-footed Liverpool’s fourth in the 45th minute, only for Liverpool to lose concentration thinking about the half time cuppa and allowing Richarlison to head home in stoppage time.

Everton missed an absolute sitter which might have meant a nervy ending, but Liverpool ruthlessly and immediately made them pay as Wijnaldum fired home the fifth at the death. It was a thoroughly convincing dismantling of the toffees.

 

Liverpool 2-0 Watford (Dec 14, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 14, 2019: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah scores the first goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Watford FC at Anfield. (Pic by Richard Roberts/Propaganda)

Relegation-threatened Watford had changed managers and found a new lease of life before heading to Anfield. It took 38 minutes for their stubborn resistance to be broken by an inspired Salah moment.

Receiving a pass from Mane on his left foot, he bamboozled the full-back with a backheel switch to his right and produced a stunning curler to open the scoring. A moment of brilliance.

To add to the entertainment, he then side-footed his and Liverpool’s second into the net from an Origi mis-hit. Two goals, both with his right foot, a coy smile from Mo and there was no way back for Watford.

 

Liverpool 1-0 Wolves (Dec 27, 2019)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 29, 2019: Liverpool's Adam Lallana controls the ball before his side's opening goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Wolverhampton Wanderers FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Wolves, one of the most attractive teams in the division, were never going to be easy to topple.

After all, they had the least number of defeats in the league after Liverpool at this point of the season. And so it proved, with the Midlanders giving as good as they got throughout. A tight game was settled by another Mane goal, ruled to have come off Adam Lallana’s shoulder rather than his arm.

It was touch and go for a moment, but it was the correct decision. Wolves were denied what would have been a deserved leveller by VAR for the kind of millimetre decision that proves so infuriating for all teams. Thankfully, this time we were on the right end of it.

It was the Reds toughest task of the season, and once again, the mentality monsters came through to end 2019 a stunning 13 points clear of second-place Leicester and 14 clear of Man City, with a game in hand over both.

The record, as we all celebrated bringing in the New Year, was: played 19, won 18 and drawn 1.

 

Liverpool 2-0 Sheffield United (Jan 2, 2020)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Thursday, January 2, 2020: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the second goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Sheffield United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The New Year’s fixtures began with the surprise package Blades. They’d quietly put together a quite extraordinary away record where they’d remained unbeaten away from home for almost 12 months. They proved as resilient as everyone expected them to be.

Then, on 38 minutes and Liverpool finding chances hard to come by, a ball was played out wide to Robertson. The Blades defender, who would have otherwise intercepted it, slipped on the turf, and Robertson raced forward to drill his pass low and hard for Salah to fire it through the keeper’s legs.

And merely 30 minutes later, a peach of a reverse ball from Salah found the onrushing Mane. The keeper pulled off a superb save, only for the loose ball to bobble nicely for Mane to blast into the open goal from two yards. Another tricky game negotiated in front of new signing Takumi Minamino, and 18 successive home wins.

 

Liverpool 2-0 Man Utd (Jan 19, 2020)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 19, 2020: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) celebrates scoring the second goal with team-mate goalkeeper Alisson Becker during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Manchester United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The old enemy rolled into town with the huge incentive of stopping the Liverpool record breakers in their tracks. Not only could they dent the home record run, but, avoid defeat, and they could also claim to be the only side Liverpool could not beat in this memorable season.

Would Liverpool’s apparent mental block against United strike again? The answer was a definitive ‘No.’

On 14 minutes, an unmarked Van Dijk bulleted a header past a statuesque De Gea; no prizes for guessing the identity of the local lad who swung in the pin-point corner. Liverpool were by far the better side throughout, but it took until the 93rd minute of a nail-biting finale, before Salah broke free from the halfway line, held off Lindelof, and fired under De Gea. Anfield required a new roof and it was goodnight United.

 

Liverpool 4-0 Southampton (Feb 1, 2020)

Liverpool's Jordan Henderson (right) celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Anfield, Liverpool. (Peter Byrne/PA Wire/PA Images)

After Southampton had given a genuinely impressive account of themselves in an equal first half, the second half saw the floodgates open. After scoring in the previous league game against West Ham, the reinvigorated Ox was in the mood for more. He cleverly fired home the opener in the 47th minute after cutting in from the left-hand side and wrong-footing the keeper.

Bobby Firmino reversed a gorgeous ball back to Henderson to side foot home the second. The captain then played a lovely ball into the onrushing Salah who dinked it past the ‘keeper for number three. With everything now going right, Bobby cut back another ball to Mo, and even the ricocheted attempt bobbled its way into the net. 4-0 was harsh on the Saints, but that’s what world-class teams do.

 

Liverpool 3-2 West Ham (Feb 24, 2020)

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, February 24, 2020: Liverpool's Sadio Mané celebrates scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and West Ham United FC at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It seemed a procession was on the cards when Trent curled a right-wing cross for Wijnaldum to head right through the hapless keeper after only nine minutes, but West Ham had other ideas.

As just minutes later an excellent header from Issa Diop at the near post from a low corner saw them draw level. Salah responded by bringing a super save from Fabianski who palmed over the bar. Virgil headed onto the crossbar and over.

Anfield was stunned soon after the break, however. Pablo Fornals turned and hit a crisp shot past Alisson. David Moyes was winning at Anfield! 1-2 to the Hammers and nerves turned into fears. Then, on 68 minutes Robertson worked his magic down the left- hand side, pulled it back to Salah who didn’t quite connect.

For the second time, Fabianski allowed the shot to go straight through him, and it was all square.

With time running out, up stepped Joe Gomez whose hopeful shot from 30 yards ricocheted into the path of the ever-willing Trent. From virtually the goal line, Trent managed to loop it back past the ‘keeper and Mane blasted home a gift. In a game where Liverpool’s nerves at being oh so close to the ultimate prize were clearly on show, the monster mentality of this team shone through yet again.

 

Liverpool 2-1 Bournemouth (Mar 7, 2020)

Salah and Mane celebrate. (Mike Egerton/PA Wire/PA Images)

As if the previous game hadn’t given the Anfield faithful enough heart palpitations, perennial awayday fodder and massively injury-hit Bournemouth rolled into town. Against all odds, they took the lead after nine minutes.

A clear nudge on Joe Gomez was ignored by referee Paul Tierney allowing the cherries to play on. A quick one-two combination found the unmarked Callum Wilson with a simple tap in – VAR would surely overrule the referee. Not a chance.

With nerves now clearly jangling, it was almost two as Nathan Ake headed powerfully at Adrian who saved – just – as he watched the ball bounce against the bar and over.

Trent then played a sumptuous outside of the boot pass to Bobby Firmino, but his powerful drive was well saved by Aaron Ramsdale and Steve Cook blasted clear. Injury ravaged Bournemouth suffered yet another defensive setback as Steve Cook had to be replaced by youngster Jack Simpson. It was to be a watershed moment.

The young lad was dispossessed by Mane as he foolishly tried to dribble past him 25 yards from goal. Sadio, with nerves seemingly still playing a role, completely misdirected his simple pass behind the onrushing Mo Salah, who checked, readjusted, and fired home anyway.

Another naïve Bournemouth mistake in the middle of the park saw Van Dijk break up the Bournemouth possession and thread a ball to Sadio Mane who stroked it home with aplomb. The 22nd and record-breaking win had been secured.

So, there it is.

With the season about to restart, Liverpool are now just two wins from title number 19. A team having one of the greatest seasons in European Football history, now have THE greatest home winning streak of 22 games in Europe.

An away win against Everton on Sunday would mean that a 23rd successive home win would bring us that elusive 19th league title.

Go bring it home, lads.



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