There was a brief period on the south coast when the gusts of Storm Ciaran made conditions so scary and dirty that Liverpool’s bid to win this competition for a tenth time seemed to become collateral damage.
Bournemouth’s in-swinging corners threatened to fly straight into the net, while attempted defenses spiraled high into the sky, were stopped and blown back from whence they comically came.
Justin Kluivert had canceled out Cody Gakpo’s opener and the home side, aided by the wind, pressed on and seemed capable and confident of scoring a second goal and taking the lead until Darwin Nunez produced such a brilliant moment, that it seemed like the weather was changing.
Nunez was pushed left as a pass from Trent Alexander-Arnold eluded him, but the change of angle worked in his favor as he returned inside with his right foot and unleashed a powerful strike.
It rolled, dived and deceived goalkeeper Andrei Radu and secured his team a place in the quarterfinals of the Carabao Cup.
Darwin Nunez scored a brilliant goal to put Liverpool back on top of Bournemouth
The Uruguayan struck from the left and flicked a powerful shot into the net
Nunez came off the bench and made a real impact for Jurgen Klopp’s side
Klopp seemed delighted with the win as his side reached the quarter-finals
“Wonderful goal,” beamed Liverpool coach Jürgen Klopp. “A first-class cup game in strange, strange circumstances.” We could have scored more goals in the first half and in the second half we realized it would have been a good idea to score more goals because the wind changed the game .
FACTS ABOUT THE GAME:
Bournemouth 4231: Radu 6.5; Smith 6, Mepham 6, Zabarnyi 6:5, Kerkez 6; Scott 7.5 (Moore 81), Billing 6 (Tavernier 61, 7); Semenyo 6 (Brooks 74, 6), Christie 7.5, Kluivert 7 (Traore 74, 6); Solanke 6.
Subs: Plain, Rothwell, Ouattara, Senesi, Aarons
Goals: Kluivert 64
Bookings: Kerkez, Scott, Iraola,
Manager: Andoni Iraola 6.5
Liverpool 433: Kelleher 6; Gomez 6, Matip 6, Quansah 6, Tsimikas 6; Elliott 7 (Nunez 60, 7.5), Endo 7 (Alexander-Arnold 60, 7), Jones 6.5 (Mac Allister 60, 6); Szoboszlai 8 (Gravenberch 76, 6), Salah 7.5, Gakpo 7 (Jota 81)
Subs: Adrian, Van Dijk, Konate, Scanlon
Goals: Gakpo 31, Nunez 70
Manager: Jurgen Klopp 7
Ref: John Brooks 6
“The good thing is that I don’t have to talk about the circumstances because everyone saw and felt it.” It was really difficult for both teams. In these moments, attitude matters. It’s all about winning. It’s just a matter of getting through it.’
There was an exasperating final sequence with shots on both sides, but the visitors survived to justify the calculated risks of Klopp, who made eight changes compared to Bournemouth’s two.
Andoni Iraola’s team got off to a positive start. Kluivert forced the first save of the game from Caoimhin Kelleher, who made an even better save when he was shot low by the same player, unaware that there was an offside flag.
Ryan Christie denied a good chance set up by Antoine Semenyo and Kluivert showed excellent ball control as he let Milos Kerkez burst forward from left-back. However, Kerkez shot directly at Kelleher.
These were early warnings for Liverpool on a night where controlled possession was virtually impossible, but the visitors found a better rhythm as the first half progressed and Dominik Szoboszlai became increasingly influential.
The Hungarian midfielder created a wonderful chance for Harvey Elliott, who couldn’t find a left-footed way past Romanian goalkeeper Radu when he first met the pass. In the 31st minute, Szoboszlai fired low shots across the goal and wide of the goal, on either side of the Gakpo goal.
Bournemouth failed to clear a corner and Elliott fired the ball back into the crowd. Gakpo shot the ball towards the goal and Radu blocked, but the rebound fell to the Dutch striker again.
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Cody Gakpo scored the game’s opening goal from close range after a scramble
Justin Kluivert had brought Bournemouth level with a header at the back post
It was difficult due to the rain and swirling wind, and Kluivert took advantage with an easy goal
This time he took the chance. It was his fourth goal in his last seven games and extended Liverpool’s goal-scoring streak to 25 games. The last time Klopp’s team failed to score was against Chelsea in April.
Conditions worsened during the break. Rain pelted and the wind blew in favor of the home team.
Alex Scott fired a shot over the goal from 20 yards, Dominic Solanke fired another into the side netting and Joe Gomez had to react quickly to prevent a corner from hitting the back post.
Mo Salah missed a good chance with a header to give his team a two-goal lead before Liverpool were pegged back.
Semenyo shot wide as he appeared to equalize, just after Klopp made the triple substitution which also included Nunez, then Marcus Tavernier came on for Bournemouth and forced a save from Kelleher.
The pressure finally showed when Kluivert appeared alone at the back post and scored his first goal for the club after another dangerous Scott corner, but Nunez stole the wind from their sails.
“We had a great chance of getting to the last eight as some big teams were eliminated,” Iraola said. “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy and they finished the game with most of their starting XI and had to work really hard to beat us.”
Liverpool took the lead in the first half and deserved to dominate the game