The Warm Down: Mesmerising Mohamed Salah torments Cherries to remind the Premier League the Reds are here to stay
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The Warm Down: Mesmerising Mohamed Salah torments Cherries to remind the Premier League the Reds are here to stay

Mohamed Salah scored a hat-trick as Liverpool romped to an emphatic 4-0 victory to send a worrying message to Manchester City

Joshua Kerr

"We are top of the league, say, we are top of the league".

Those were the chants that ringed around the Vitality Stadium as Liverpool romped to their most emphatic victory and performance to date this season.

The Reds were artists at work in the south coast and have emerged a team obsessed with competing with the best. 

As Mohamed Salah walked away with the match ball tucked under his arm and the applause of both home and away supporters rang around the stadium you knew that Liverpool meant business on a near perfect Saturday afternoon.

The travelling Kop were ecstatic by the scenes they were able to witness in the away dugout today. They were treated to yet another three points and most promising of all, yet another masterclass from the Reds Egyptian King.

Liverpool are enjoying their best-ever season in their illustrious history - an achievement that has been played down by the breakneck speed Pep Guardiola has his title-winning City team moving at.

Jürgen Klopp's accomplishments have hit new heights. Yes, they are yet to have any silverware to show for their prowess, but, having scraped crucial wins against Everton and Burnley the Reds finally produced a performance that oozed the confidence and class of a team that looks set to compete for the title.

It was a unique kind of triumph at the Vitality Stadium today as the Reds breezed to their third 4-0 victory of the season and Salah's second Liverpool hat-trick.

Liverpool show they are the real deal under Klopp

It was certainly the Reds most complete performance of the season so far and was a serious warning to the nation that Klopp's side are the real deal this time around.

Not only was it a message loud and clear to champions City that Liverpool won't budge, but it also encapsulated the desires of all football neutrals that want a serious title race this season.

And based off of the evidence today, this one could go right down to the very wire.

The Reds not only left the south coast with yet another three points, but they also put Eddie Howe's impressive outfit to the sword in their own backyard. The balance displayed by Liverpool was that of perfectionists.

Yet again, the defensive unit was rock solid, but, the midfield depth has finally shown its course and its members are finally coming to the party at the perfect time.

With Liverpool's do-or-die Champions League contest against Napoli just days away, this was the best possible way to prepare the team for another potential magical night at Anfield. 

Klopp has created a work ethic matched equally in quality and the class from his players extended well beyond the final whistle when a modest Salah declined the man-of-the-match award and opted for James Milner to receive the accolade as a tribute to his 500th Premier League appearance. 

Liverpool were dexterous against a team that deservedly sat above both Manchester United and Everton in the league table before kick-off and shown no mercy to resoundingly secure their fifth successive league win on the spin.

Salah torments mortified Bournemouth defence

It has taken Salah time to get up to speed this season following the heartbreak of both a Champions League final defeat and a torrid injury that dented the prospects of his illustrious World Cup ambitions.

However, the Reds star man was oleaginous in class today and a sheer delight to watch. He was the stuff of dreams for Liverpool, and that of nightmares for the Cherries - his pace, drive, grace and elegance were all but too much to handle for the hosts.

The shackles have truly come off for the Egyptian international who infiltrated a terrified Bournemouth defence from start to finish. There is no doubt that Howe will know full well this was the day that Salah returned to the fold.

Despite being good fortune for the win, the hosts will be aggrieved about the manner and controversy that surrounded the opening goal.

Salah was undoubtedly offside when he tucked in the rebound from Roberto Firmino's well-hit volley, but the two goals that followed were simply mesmerising and a testament to the sheer class of display from the Reds top-scorer.

Salah took his goal tally for the season to 12 - 10 in the league - and having cleaned up the majority of individual accolades last season, the 26-year-old in his post-match interview highlighted his new obsession with the team achieving glory this time around. 

Based off of today, they don't look a bad bet on achieving it.

Midfield finally come to the fold

The calendar year has reached it's gruelling yet festive period and Liverpool's manager deserves gargantuan amounts of praise for his expertise in the rotation of his squad. 

Joel Matip was inspiring next to the imperious Virgil van Dijk as the Reds continued on their best ever defensive run - securing their 10th clean sheet of the season leaking only six goals in the process. A league record.

No other side in the history of the top-flight has conceded fewer goals than this stellar Liverpool unit and their German manager has awakened a new beast in the dimension of his once all-out attacking team. 

Milner capped off a fine career-defining 500th appearance in a makeshift right-back role whilst Andy Robertson was yet again a joy to watch down that left-hand flank.

Naby Keita and Fabinho featured in a starting eleven for the first time and the £95 million duo were good value for money in their inaugural showing together - both should be very pleased.

If there was any controversy surrounding Liverpool's starting line-up at Turf Moor then doubts were quickly put to bed by Klopp who innovated an almost faultless attacking system.

Liverpool came quickly out of the traps and took the game to Bournemouth right from the very off. Firmino, Fabinho, Robertson, Wijnaldum and Salah all returned in place of the injured Joe Gomez and the likes of Alberto Moreno, Jordan Henderson, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi who were all amongst the substitutes bench.

Over to you City

The hosts found it almost impossible to fathom anything early on and failed to match the intensity on display by Klopp's devastating Reds. 

Salah and Xherdan Shaqiri were a force to behold early on and their interchanging movement completely bewildered the Bournemouth defence with Shaqiri unlocking the back-four with a number of beautifully guided dinked passes.

Fabinho once again was a menace in the middle of the park snapping at legs to win tackles and break up play whilst Keita orchestrated a box of skills with a double nutmeg that had the away section clapping on their feet.

The hosts did grow into the match and Josh King and David Brooks linked well together to force a smart save from Alisson Becker at the Brazilians near post.

However, a goal for the visitors looked inevitable and the Reds were good value for the opening following a dexterous link-up between the forward duo of yet again Firmino and Salah.

Some slick intricate play between the Brazilian and Egyptian allowed Firmino space and the Reds No.9 unleashed a thunderbolt on the half-volley from 25-yards towards Begovic that was too hot to handle for the Bosnian keeper spilling the ball into the path of Salah who ruthlessly tucked home despite being marginally offside.

Once Klopp's troops went a goal up they never looked like surrendering their stronghold on the tie. Alisson once again acted as the commander in chief dominating his box - including a soaring header to tower above King and clear the danger following Milner's sliced clearance.

Liverpool went in at the break a goal to the good and their advantage was doubled only three minutes into the second-half when Salah was unleashed yet again against a mortified Bournemouth defence.

Firmino was a menace recovering lost balls and pounced on Steve Cook's error before finding Salah who was suddenly one-on-one against a defenceless Nathan Ake

Cook looked to repent for his early sins of losing the ball by tracking back cynically tugging at the Egyptian and sliding his studs down the forwards Achilles. It proved ineffective, however, as Salah rode the challenges before drilling a left-footed shot into the bottom corner before being mobbed by his Liverpool teammates.

Cook's miserable afternoon wasn't finished there. The Cherries defender's pain reached new heights after firing Bournemouth's second own goal in three games.

Robertson did what Andy Robertson does and drove a dangerous left-footed cross into the danger area before Cook's back-heel sent the ball crashing into his own net to all but confirm Liverpool's 12th league win of the season.

The Reds could have allowed Howe's comrades to surrender, however, Klopp and his team smelt blood and it the fourth goal of the day that allowed the Reds to eventually romp to victory. 

Adam Lallana was welcomed to the contest at his former ground and provided an assist for the Reds hat-trick hero. An inviting long ball over the top got Salah pouncing and what followed from the Reds top-scorer was nothing shy of wizardry.

The PFA Player of the Year for 2018 exuded composure on a different scale by rounding the ball around Begovic being urged to shoot by the screaming away of the ground.

Instead, Salah cut back and had the audacity to beat Begovic a second time. His task was still far from complete as two Cherries defenders sat on the goal line looking to deny the talisman. However, Salah was ice cool and notoriously flicked the ball past the defensive anchors with the outside of his boot into the bottom corner to complete the rout. 

Salah celebrated not smiling, but, once again holding his arms in a manner which depicted a man certainly not shy of confidence. To all the doubters who labelled the forward a 'one season wonder' this performance was a cruel reminder that talent of this scale cannot be kept shied away. 

The Liverpool forward become the first player to score an away hat-trick since Luis Suarez against Cardiff City in 2014.

This was yet another national warning that Salah's powers are increasing by the week and the front-man in only trailing behind Lionel Messi for most goals in Europes top five competitive leagues.

For now, Liverpool sit top of the Premier League table proceedings ahead of a so-called 'invincible' opponent in the shape of City. And yet, this team operated by Klopp are yet to fully click despite making their best ever start to a domestic campaign. 

It's scary to think what the German manager could unleash if he integrates together the blueprints that propelled the Reds all the way to the Champions League final last campaign.

Liverpool today have done their job. It's over to you now Guardiola.