Thursday, 18 December 2014

Liverpool end Cherries' Capital One Cup run 1-3 (fancam video)

Match Report
AFCB 3 v 1 Liverpool
Capital One Cup Quarter Final
17 December 2014
Attendance: 11, 347
The Capital One Cup on show.
A team in crisis, lacking in confidence, rudderless. Well there was very little of that on show at the Goldsands as Liverpool's fast, lively passing in the last third during the first 20 minutes was every bit Premier League quality, as the yellow and red shirts left the Cherries behind in a blur for most of the first half, and AFCB stood off rather too much at times. That is not to take anything away from a Liverpool side that came to the south coast needing a win not only to progress in the Capital One Cup, but to restore the knocks that they have been dealt in recent weeks, crashing out of the Champions League and suffering Premier league defeats that have left them seven points off fourth place.

Chimes' FanCam: Adam, Andy and Ben - three Liverpool fans who give their opinions pre-match.

It was billed as a potential banana skin for Liverpool to come to Bournemouth in this quarter final match and the Sky cameras were there as well as the national media in huge numbers to see if the Championship leaders could cause an upset. For Eddie Howe there was a need to know how much his side had got closer to an established Premier League team having lost to them in the FA Cup last January. Yet, the side he selected had six changes in it to the last league match and with Liverpool also having Arsenal at the weekend there were some big names missing from their 11 as well.
The players make their way on to the pitch.
The teams get ready.
A quick team photo.
There are more pictures on Match Day Gallery.

As early as the fourth minute the Cherries should have been ahead as Callum Wilson wriggled his way into a shooting position inside the box only to fire wide! It could have been the start that would have put real pressure on the Liverpool players considering their recent run of results, but the miss stirred Liverpool into life. Within minutes Adam Lallana was showing his speed and eye for goal with a powerful drive from the edge of the box that brought the very best out of Artur Boruc.

Liverpool simply had more time and speed of passing as the game progressed and they were soon in full control with Coutinho and Markovic especially impressive in the last third of the pitch. The match was flying past at great pace and Bournemouth were soon having to make many blocks as shots started to come in all too frequently from the yellow shirts. Lallana was drifting infield and causing all kinds of problems to pick up and Coutinho was equally menacing. Standing off Liverpool was helping to keep AFCB's shape but it was not allowing them to put and pressure on the Merseysiders who were not missing many passes and always looked like they could thread a ball through to Raheem Stirling at any moment. The breakthrough came on 20 minutes after a sequence of 52 Liverpool passes in a row. Lazar Markovic on the left wing played a ball over to Henderson at the far post and when he nodded back across the goal Stirling had an easy task to head in from six yards. 

AFCB were finding it difficult to string many passes together and they simply could not get the ball back when they lost it. Liverpool were able to move the ball around as though it were under their spell and they glided into dangerous areas of the pitch effortlessly at times. The stuffing was knocked out of the Cherries further on 27 minutes when Elphick, up against Coutinho in the box, stopped and put his arm up having heard a whistle. It allowed Coutinho to get a crisp shot off that Boruc kept out with his legs but the ball sped out to Markovic to score his first Liverpool goal from around the penalty spot with a rasping drive to the keeper's left - 0-2.

At this stage it was a worry how many the Cherries might concede on the night, because Liverpool looked very much up for the game and the Bournemouth players were doing their best but were not really getting anywhere near close enough to the opposition. Well, at least we thought that until Francis made a characteristic run down the right wing just after Liverpool had scored and pulled back a cross to Yann Kermorgant who was in the clear just on the penalty spot and yet he blasted his shot over with goal gaping!

Still, Adam Smith was having a good game at left back and Baily Cargill looked the most assured of all of AFCB's players on the pitch at centre back. At half time though Bournemouth were 2-nil down and in need of some inspiration. The gulf in play between the two teams looked like it might be too much for the Cherries to bridge.
Liverpool's dominance in midfield and strong finishing saw them 0-2 up at half time.
Second half
Liverpool made a sub at half time with Lovren being replaced by Sakho at the back. While everyone knew the next goal would be vital a mistake by Yann Kermorgant allowed Toure to gather the ball and pass to Lallana who in turn found Stirling who turned Elphick one way and then the other before firing his shot into the bottom left corner - 0-3! That seemed like it was all over.

Bournemouth don't give up though and two substitutes by Eddie Howe soon started to help the crowd see more of the Bournemouth that has seen them do so well in the Championship. Yann Kermorgant and Junior Stanislas were replaces and Harry Arter and Ryan Fraser joined the action as AFCB started to impose themselves on the game with more urgency. The lifeline for the Cherries came on 57 minutes when Dan Gosling broke into the box after reaching a cross from Ritchie and he smashed the ball home past Kolo Toure and Brad Jones to make it 1-3.

There was plenty of time for a comeback and there was a sense that this game might not be over yet. That was more or less confirmed when a cross from O'Kane on the right was almost put away by a header from Ryan Fraser that was unchallenged but fell just wide of the post and out of reach for Callum Wilson on 65 minutes.

The anxious Liverpool players were even more troubled to see Raheem Stirling miss a brilliant opportunity to get his hat-trick when Adam Lallana flicked on a ball in the box for him to shoot wide from eight yards out. It was a let off and AFCB soon went about trying to make Liverpool pay for the miss in one of their best spells. Adam Smith was still beating Liverpool players for fun at times and Arter's drive was carrying the Bournemouth players forward. Harry Arter's quick thinking was making a difference and he fed Gosling on the edge of the box on 68 minutes only to see Dan's shot powered off the left post! If that had gone in it would have been a battle royal for the last 20 minutes.  

Instead Liverpool were able to see out the remainder of the match with that scare and while Francis had a bash at shooting from distance that saw the ball fly into the North stand, AFCB's darting runs with Ryan Fraser and Matt Ritchie did not open up significant further opportunities. Brett Pitman had 10 minutes to try and get another goal back having been waiting to come on for some five minutes on the touchline. Liverpool had already brought on Emre Can for Coutinho on 74 minutes and Gerrard was given a big round of applause when he was subbed for Borini on 89 minutes.
The final whistle goes.
A hard night for the Cherries.
Eddie Howe waves to the crowd.
The players swap a shirt or two.
Liverpool fans enjoy the win.
Summary
While Liverpool had been comfortable winners there was a sense that Eddie Howe and the players learned more from this match than last time the two teams met. Liverpool were superior for vast sections of the first half, but AFCB pulled some of that possession back in the second half and had they have found the net with some of the missed chances the game could have been closer in the end. Again Liverpool had shown though that they are a good side going forward when they find their fast tempo and Lallana, Coutinho and Markovic were the players that stood out for me in making things happen. However, the Cherries also showed their are ways of getting at Liverpool which they managed in the second half. Now the Cherries need to see if they can improve further by matching such teams for longer periods of a game. AFCB are out of this cup, but it was a valuable night for the players and the best team won the game. Good luck to Liverpool in the semi-final!

AFCB

Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cargill, Smith, O'Kane (Pitman 81), Gosling, Ritchie, Kermorgant (Arter 53), Stanislas (Fraser 54'), Wilson

AFCB Subs
Camp, Cook, Arter, Pitman,  Daniels, MacDonald, Fraser

AFCB Ratings

Boruc 7, Francis 7, Elphick 7, Cargill 9, Smith 9, O'Kane 6, Gosling 9, Ritchie 7, Kermorgant 6, Stanislas 6, Wilson 6

Liverpool
Jones, K TourΓ©, Skrtel, Lovren (Sakho 45), Henderson, Gerrard (Borini 90), Lucas, Markovic, Coutinho (Can 74'), Sterling, Lallana


Liverpool Ratings

Jones 6, K TourΓ© 6, Skrtel 6, Lovren 5, Henderson 5, Gerrard 7, Lucas 7, Markovic 9, Coutinho 9, Sterling 8, Lallana 9

Liverpool Subs

Lambert, Sakho, Moreno, Manquillo, Mignolet, Can, Borini

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