Goalscorers: Sadio Mane 20, Divock Origi 22, Callum Wilson 56 PEN, Emre Can 64, Ryan Fraser 76, Steve Cook 78, Nathan Ake 90
AFC Bournemouth: Artur Boruc, Adam Smith, Nathan Ake, Steve Cook, Simon Francis, Harry Arter, Dan Gosling (Benik Afobe 75), Jack Wilshere, Junior Stanislas (Ryan Fraser 55), Josh King (Jordon Ibe 45), Callum Wilson
Liverpool FC: Loris Karius, Nathaniel Clyne, Dejan Lovren, Lucas, James Milner, Emre Can, Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum, Roberto Firmino, Divock Origi, Sadio Mane (Adam Lallana 69)
Referee: Bobby Madley, Attendance: 11,183
Liverpool FC arrived on the south coast in December 2016 on a 15-match unbeaten run in all competitions. Jurgen Klopp’s side were the closest challengers to league leaders Chelsea. They were expected to dispatch AFC Bournemouth fairly comfortably, having won three meetings against the Cherries in 2015-2016. That was despite missing Brazilian playmaker Philippe Coutinho and centre-back Joel Matip due to injury.
The match was going to the formbook at half-time as the Reds charged into a 2-0 lead. Sadio Mane opened the scoring, scrambling the ball home in the 20th minute. Two minutes later, Mane had a big part to play in the lead being doubled, robbing Harry Arter of possession. He found Jordan Henderson and the LFC captain played a ball through for Divock Origi. Origi avoided a rash challenge from Artur Boruc and guided the ball into an empty net.
Eddie Howe’s side needed a response in the second half. He brought Ryan Fraser off the bench for Junior Stanislas and within 60 seconds of his arrival, the deficit had been reduced. Fraser was brought down in the penalty area by James Milner. Callum Wilson kept his composure to make the scoreline 2-1. Despite that intervention, Liverpool still looked in command and restored their two-goal advantage midway through the second half. Again, the dominant Mane was heavily involved, dispossessing Nathan Ake and teeing up Emre Can for a beautiful curling shot into Boruc’s net. With a 3-1 lead and job seemingly done, Klopp elected to bring Mane off. As soon the Senegalese was withdrawn, Bournemouth’s game sparkled into life with what turned out to be one of the most breathtaking comebacks of recent times in the Premier League.
Fraser scored his first-ever Premier League goal on 76 minutes with a shot from the edge of the area which Loris Karius could have done better with. Two minutes later, it was 3-3. Steve Cook controlled the ball with his back superbly, turned like a forward and thumped the ball into the net to level the scores. Bournemouth looked like the more probable winners and the comeback was complete in injury-time. Cook tried his luck again. Karius made a complete mess of the strike, fumbling the ball straight into the path of the gleeful Ake, who tapped home to send the Vitality Stadium into scenes of euphoria.
Bournemouth would finish a fantastic ninth in their second Premier League season whilst Liverpool still managed a top-four finish but this collapse would be an indication that Klopp’s team were not the finished article yet.