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Coutinho dazzles as Liverpool storm back into top four

City A.M. Sunday, 17 December 2017
Coutinho dazzles as Liverpool storm back into top four*Bournemouth 0, Liverpool 4*

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp urged his team to reproduce their ruthless best on a more consistent basis after Bournemouth became the latest victims of the Reds’ ensemble cast of attacking talent.

Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah all netted as Liverpool returned to the Premier League’s top four by scoring three or more goals for the 10th time in 14 matches. Defender Dejan Lovren headed the visitors’ other goal.

*Read more*: Don't blame Coutinho – unhappy players are the fault of clubs

They trail third-placed Chelsea by four points and runaway leaders Manchester City by 18 points but Klopp insists they can scale greater heights if they avoid slip-ups such as Wednesday’s goalless stalemate against struggling West Brom.

“They are good – that’s why they are at Liverpool. But we need to be consistently good because we are Liverpool, and that’s what we have to learn,” he said.

“We are consistent but if we’d been even more consistent – we’ve had a few games like the West Brom game, not performance-wise but results-wise – we would have four or five points more and it immediately changes everything.”

Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe admits his team are in a relegation fight after slipping to 16th, one point above the bottom three, with a run of six games without a win.

“I’m surprised at what we delivered today because we’re a lot better than that. But we’re going to have to dig deep now and that’s the challenge that we face,” said Howe.

“The first and second years in the Premier League [the target] was to stay in the league and survive relegation. I think that’s the same position we’re in this year. It’s going to be a tough challenge but we’ve got to do better than we did today and I back us to come back from this.”

Coutinho put Liverpool ahead on 20 minutes when he finished a slaloming run off the left flank by placing a low shot past Asmir Begovic and Lovren added a second six minutes later with a diving header after Firmino had hooked the ball back across the goalmouth at a corner.

Salah turned Charlie Daniels inside-out on a mazy run via the byline before firing through a crowd to make it three just before half-time. It was the Egypt winger’s 20th goal of the season.

Firmino completed the scoring on 66 minutes when he headed in fellow Brazil star Coutinho’s clipped cross.

*Read more*: Howe fumes as Cherries denied penalty and Smith booked
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