- Christian Benteke scored his first goal for Liverpool
- Liverpool put just two shots on target despite controlling 55 percent of possession
- Simon Mignolet made one fantastic save to preserve Liverpool’s one-goal lead
Brendand Rodgers’ Liverpool are off to a perfect — if unspectacular — two-for-two start to their 2015-16 Premier League campaign following a 1-0 victory over newly promoted side Bournemouth at Anfield on Monday.
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Liverpool took an early lead, scoring the game’s only goal, through $50 million summer signing Christian Benteke in the 25th minute. New Liverpool captain Jordan Henderson whipped in an in-swinging cross to the back post, where the big Belgian striker was waiting. Benteke put his foot to the bouncing ball and wheeled away to celebrate his first Liverpool goal, on his Anfield debut.
Much immediate discussion of the play focused on the role of Philippe Coutinho, who made a clear attempt to play the ball inside Bournemouth’s penalty area despite being more than three full yards offside (above video). Referee Craig Pawson and his assistant referee did not whistle Coutinho for offside and the goal was given.
10 – Jordan Henderson has 10 assists in the Premier League since the start of last season; more than any other English player. Spark.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) August 17, 2015
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The Reds nearly doubled their lead three minutes later, when James Milner cut the ball back to Henderson just outside the penalty area. Henderson unleashed a powerful, curling effort but saw his effort go agonizingly close as it clanged off the crossbar.
Shortly after the halftime restart, in the 50th minute, Bournemouth registered their first shot on goal of the game. The Cherries’ 2014-15 talisman, Matt Richie, forced Simon Mignolet into a sprawling save. The rebound found its way back to Ritchie and the 25-year-old curled his follow-up effort just wide of the far post.
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Ritchie nearly beat Mignolet with another effort in the 60th minute. Ritchie raced into the penalty area to meet a left-to-right moving cross, made solid contact from 18 yards out and narrowly clipped the outside of the ‘keeper’s left-hand post.
Benteke went inches from giving Liverpool their much-desired insurance goal in the 90th minute, but the 24-year-old saw his redirect of Nathaniel Clyne’s cross bounce off the ground, bound over the head of Artur Boruc, hit the crossbar and carom back into play.
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Following Monday’s result, Liverpool are level with Manchester City, Leicester City and Manchester United as the only perfect teams thus far, while Bournemouth remain in 19th on zero points. Up next, it’s a trip to Arsenal (Watch live, Monday at 3 pm ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra) for the Reds, and a trip to West Ham for the Cherries (Watch live, Saturday at 10 am ET online via Live Extra).