LONDON: Liverpool want to spark one of those special European nights at Anfield on Wednesday to help overturn their 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League second round.
They also want to put on a much better performance than on Saturday even though a 2:1 defeat of relegation-threatened Bournemouth ended a run of three defeats in four matches in all competitions.
The world and European champions remain on course for their first Premier title since 1990 but better opponents – such as Atletico – would have punished their lax defending more severely.
Liverpool conceded an early goal to Callum Wilson but recovered with strikes from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane. Salah’s 70th goal on his 100th Premier League appearance made him the first Liverpool player since Michael Owen in 2002-03 to score 20-plus goals in three successive seasons. He also overtook Luis Suarez as the club’s leading overseas scorer in the top flight.
The goal ended Liverpool’s longest goal drought (124 minutes) since February 2019.
Liverpool have won their last 22 league home games, the longest such winning run in English top-flight history. Yet they were nowhere near their best. The smooth early-season teamwork has been sacrificed to rotation to keep players fresh. This disruption has been exacerbated by the hip injury which will prevent goalkeeper Alisson Becker facing Atletico.
At least manager Jurgen Klopp hopes captain Jordan Henderson will be fit after a hamstring injury. His experience and leadership is important.
Klopp may face disciplinary action from the FA for his over-the-top celebration in front of an assistant referee after Mane’s goal. He had been upset earlier that a foul on Joe Gomez had not been penalised by the referee and/or VAR in the build-up to Bournemouth’s goal.
He said: “For me, the question is how is it possible for someone to have a look at it and not say: ‘It’s a foul.’”