By Tommy Churchyard (@tommychurchyard)
AFC Bournemouth pulled off the comeback of the season to see off Liverpool in a remarkable game of football at the Vitality stadium.
Liverpool went ahead early on through Sadio Mane and their lead was doubled shortly after by Divock Origi, who put the visitors 2-0 up and cruising going into half time.
Bournemouth pulled one back on the 55th minute through a Callum Wilson penalty, after impact substitute Ryan Fraser was brought down by James Milner.
Emre Can restored Liverpool’s two goal lead with a beautiful curling effort to put the away side back in control with 25 minutes to play.
But Bournemouth refused to give up and Fraser put them back in the game on the 75th minute with a neat finish, followed by a Steve Cook equaliser two minutes later to make it 3-3.
Nathan Ake won the game for Bournemouth in stoppage time, as he capitalised on Loris Karius’ error to fumble the ball into the back on the net and send the Vitality stadium into jubilation.
This was Bournemouth’s first ever victory against Liverpool and one that Cherries’ fans will not forget in a hurry.
Liverpool were quick to take control of the game and should have been ahead early on.
Nathaniel Clyne’s low cross from the right put the ball on a plate for Origi, but the striker fluffed his effort from 6 yards and let Bournemouth off the hook.
The away side took a deserved lead after 20 minutes. Emre Can dinked a lovely ball over the top for Sadio Mane, who used his pace to get in behind Cherries’ back four and poked the ball past the onrushing Boruc to make it 1-0.
Two minutes later Liverpool doubled their lead. Jordan Henderson fed Origi down the right hand side and Boruc came rushing out of his box, making it easy for the Liverpool striker to round him and curl the ball into the net from a tight angle.
Bournemouth felt they should have had a penalty in the 36th minute, as Roberto Firmino appeared to bring down Nathan Ake in the box. But referee Bobby Madley waved away protests from the home side and the scoreline remained 0-2 going into half time.
In the 54th minute, the injured Junior Stanislas was replaced by Fraser and the young Scotsman had an immediate impact on the game. With his first touch, Fraser took the ball past Milner and the make-shift left back brought him down inside the box. Wilson then sent Karius the wrong way from the spot to put the home side back in the game.
But the threat of a comeback appeared short lived when Emre Can restored Liverpool’s two goal lead in the 64th minute. Sadio Mane made good progress down the right hand side and found Can on the edge of the box. The German wonderfully curled the ball into the top corner from 20 yards out to make it 1-3.
Fraser almost pulled one back shortly after for Bournemouth, but his powerful effort was beaten away by Karius.
Jordan Henderson almost increased Liverpool’s lead directly from a corner, after it appeared to the naked eye that Boruc had caught the ball behind the line. But goal-line technology revealed the ball was safe by a matter of millimetres to spare Boruc’s blushes.
Fraser pulled one back for the Cherries after 76 minutes, to re-ignite hope of a Bournemouth comeback. Benik Afobe failed to control Wilson’s cross from the right, but the ball dropped kindly to Fraser who was on hand to convert from 18 yards.
It took just two minutes for the Cherries to grab an equaliser and it came through the unlikely figure of Steve Cook. The Bournemouth centre back was quickest to react after the ball dropped from a cross and he magnificently turned and smashed the ball past the helpless Karius to make it 3-3.
Afobe should have made it 4-3 shortly after. He wiggled his way through the Liverpool defence to find himself one-on-one with Karius, but the Liverpool stopper got down well to keep it all square.
Origi almost won it for the away side in the 90th minute, but his acrobatic effort went just over the crossbar from close range.
It looked as though the two sides were going to have to settle for a point, but deep into stoppage time Nathan Ake sent Bournemouth fans wild when he put the home side 4-3 up. Karius couldn’t hold Cook’s long range effort and Ake was on hand to fumble the ball home to complete the most remarkable of comebacks for the Cherries.
Eddie Howe was delighted with the never-say-die attitude of his players: “It would have been easy for our players to give up and see out time, but our group knows not to give up. We scored at the right time, and the easy thing when you equalise is to sit back and defend that but thankfully the lads kept going”.
However, it wasn’t all smiles from the Bournemouth boss, who was disappointed with his team’s first half performance: “It’s a real contrast of emotions. At half time we were in real trouble. Liverpool were excellent in the first half and we knew their quality. It took our substitutes to make an impact and liven us up”.
The win puts Bournemouth up to 10th spot in the Premier League ahead of their trip to Burnley next weekend.
Bournemouth starting XI: Boruc; Smith, Francis, Cook, Ake; Arter, Gosling (Afobe 75’); King (Ibe 45’), Stanislas (Fraser 55’), Wilshire; Wilson
Liverpool starting XI: Karius; Clyne, Lucas, Lovren, Milner; Can, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Origi, Mane (Lallana 69’), Firmino