Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola has heaped praise on Liverpool after the end of their meeting on Sunday evening. Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez scored two goals apiece in the second half on the south coast.
Iraola admitted that his side could not cope with Liverpool in the second half at the Vitality Stadium. Two goals each for Diogo Jota and Darwin Núñez gave Jürgen Klopp’s team all three points.
The first period was a closely-fought affair but Klopp said at full-time that he told his Liverpool stars that they needed to up the ante after the interval.
Fortunately for the Reds boss, they duly did, going ahead just a few minutes after the restart with a nicely worked goal that set them on their way.
“We were really good to keep the game level for 45 minutes,” Iraola told the BBC.
“We had more chances in the first half but to beat this kind of opposition, you need some moments of inspiration to make a difference. They had them and we didn’t.
“We started doing things that we weren’t doing in the first half and we wanted to do things too quickly. We changed the way that we approached the game and it made us worse.
“We started leaving some spaces in the middle and we were not so tight and aggressive, and Liverpool is a team that [doesn’t] lose this intensity. They play 100 minutes high intensity and if you don’t match them, it’s difficult.
“We needed fresh legs, especially when we conceded, because they were starting to win the duels in the middle. But we kept the same level and it was not good enough to compete against Liverpool.”
Once Bournemouth went behind, gaps opened up as the host attempted to get back into the fixture. Liverpool was able to capitalize on those and ended up scoring four times despite not being as scintillating as it often can be.
Asked to compare the teams going for the Premier League title this season, Iraola added:
“City, Arsenal, Liverpool… they have been really good against us. We have had chances but in the end, they are clinical. Whenever you make a mistake, they make you pay.”
Until Mohamed Salah returns (from either injury, AFCON or both), Liverpool will need the forwards to continue finding the back of the net. On this evidence, that won’t be a problem.
Intensity is something that Klopp will enjoy hearing his opposite number rave about as well. That was missing far too often last season (including away at Bournemouth) but is very much back now. The Cherries could not cope after half-time, as Iraola plainly admitted.