The building blocks of any title challenge are set down on filthy midwinter days like these, with the wind swirling and rain slanting down on teams stretched to their limits by injuries and absences but Liverpool refused to be blown off course.
Jurgen Klopp’s team stood up to the challenge in the first half when they struggled to find any sort of rhythm and sailed away with it after the break with two goals each from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.
Nunez adores Dorset in a storm. In November, he scored a brilliant winning goal in a Carabao Cup tie at the Vitality Stadium on a night when Storm Ciaran battered the south coast. Here, with Storm Isha approaching, his goal set Liverpool on the way to victory.
Bournemouth made a confident start as well they might, coming into the fixture with seven wins in their previous nine outings, but Liverpool survived and soon took control. Alexis Mac Allister purred on the ball in midfield but they found it difficult to create clear chances.
Mac Allister fizzed one effort wide from 25 yards midway through the first half, and Neto made routine saves as Nunez and Luis Diaz cut in from the flanks and took aim from similar distance.
Diogo Jota scored twice as Liverpool ran riot on the south coast to defeat Bournemouth 4-0
Darwin Nunez (left) also scored a brace as Liverpool stretched their lead to five points
It was a bruising evening for Bournemouth, but they know they have winnable games ahead
Liverpool look the biggest threat to Manchester City retaining their Premier League crown
Nunez set Liverpool on their way by slotting in, firing back at home fans who had taunted him
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The key talking point of the first half, however, was a high tackle by Justin Kluivert on Diaz. In the midst of a scrappy contest, it did not seem especially out of place in real time but Diaz stayed down, rolled around and shook his fingers until the game ground to a halt.
It looked worse in slow motion as it always does but Kluivert escaped without a card. Klopp could not resist having his say in the ear of the fourth official Graham Scott no doubt referencing the red card for Curtis Jones after a similar challenge at Tottenham on a day when Liverpool finished with nine men and lost for the only time in the Premier League, so far this season.
Klopp can barely afford to lose more players. No Premier League teams are without their injuries and absences for international duty at this time, although Liverpool can claim to be missing two of their most influential players in Mo Salah, away at the Africa Cup of Nations, and Trent Alexander-Arnold, injured.
Conor Bradley came in and impressed on his Premier League debut at right back. Bradley was solid in the first half and more adventurous after the interval, when the visitors played with a greater sense of purpose.
Klopp tweaked his front line for the second half, with Nunez moving from the left to the centre, Diaz switching from the right to the left and Jota moving from a central role to the right wing, and the change brought instant reward.
Curtis Jones and Jota combined to create the chance for Nunez and he finished it coolly. It was only his second goal since the one he scored here in November and it unleashed a flurry of chances for the visitors.
Bradley leapt high at the back post to head one across goal and saw a shot saved by Neto. Jota wanted a penalty when he tumbled under a challenge from Illia Zabarnyi as he drove into the penalty area.
Perhaps referee Andrew Madley decided with some justification that Jota had been determined to simply get over the line and fall down. There was contact but probably not enough for the VAR to intervene.
It was all smiles for Jurgen Klopp as everything seemed to go right for his side on Sunday
There was fury in the Liverpool camp in the first half following a nasty challenge on Luis Diaz
Klopp sought an explanation after Justin Kluivert avoided being sent off by the match officials
Bournemouth boss Andoni Iraola had his own gripes during the match as his side faltered
Jota responded with two goals to ease Liverpool clear. For his first, Nunez won a high ball and Cody Gakpo, on for Diaz, picked it up and rolled it into the path of Jota who arrived on an angled run and smashed it low into the net off the post.
His second involved a slice of good fortune. Jota miscued his initial effort, first-time from a low cross by Bradley.
The ball spun up, confused Bournemouth’s defenders and Jota finished it on the half volley as it came back to earth.
David Brooks went close for the home side before Nunez added Liverpool’s fourth in stoppage, converting a cross by Joe Gomez, who ended the game at right back, with a stylish finish with the outside of his right foot.