Liverpool beat Bournemouth 2-1 as Joe Allen runs the show in Reds' midfield
It's an encouraging sign for Liverpool that for the second Sunday in succession, Jurgen Klopp was able to make a large number of changes and still pick up maximum points. The German made 10 changes to the team that beat Dortmund in such dramatic fashion on Thursday night but all the fringe players who were brought in delivered good performances and the result was more comfortable than the 2-1 scoreline suggests.
Daniel Sturridge was in exceptional form with a goal and an assist and also struck the woodwork twice in the second half, while youngster Sheyi Ojo caught the eye with a mature display out wide.
The Merseysiders won't finish in the top four but they sit just five points off fifth-place Manchester United having played a game less, and they have made up ground on both Southampton and West Ham this weekend.
All in all, it's been quite a week for Klopp's men.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Danny Ward, 8 -- Finally handed his long-awaited first team debut and produced a performance he can be proud of. His kicking was good, he was alert, always looking to distribute the ball quickly and he made some good saves, not least a full-length flying stop to keep out a Lewis Grabban header. Had one or two uncomfortable moments under the high ball but looks a far more capable deputy than the hapless Adam Bogdan. Deserved a clean sheet but had no chance with King's stoppage time strike.
DF Connor Randall, 7 -- A solid display from the local lad on his first Premier League appearance. Most of his best work was in defence but he did get forward whenever possible and even forced a save from goalkeeper Artur Boruc in the first half.
DF Lucas Leiva, 6 -- It was a tough day for the Brazilian, often stretched to his absolute limit against the pacy and powerful Josh King. He stuck to his task well for the most part but lost out to the striker on a couple of occasions, not least when he was shrugged aside in stoppage time as the Bournemouth man pulled a goal back to set up a tense final minute.
DF Kolo Toure, 7 -- Had an easier afternoon than Lucas as King spent most of his time trying to isolate himself with the Brazilian rather than venture over to Toure's side of the field. He'd looked comfortable and untroubled until he pulled up with what looked like a hamstring pull and had to be replaced by Mamadou Sakho.
DF Brad Smith, 6 -- The young Australian has featured regularly in the cups this season but this was his first Premier League start. He was energetic and made countless overlapping runs, although his decision making and delivery in the final third was not what it has often been in previous appearances. Defended well enough but had one difficult moment when he made a meal of controlling an awkwardly bouncing ball and came close to handling in the penalty area.
MF Kevin Stewart, 6 -- Another efficient, tidy performance from the former Tottenham youngster who is proving to be a more than adequate squad player. Not much of what he does is eye catching, but most of it is effective. Seemingly set to get plenty more playing time between now and the end of the season due to unfortunate injuries to Jordan Henderson and Emre Can.
MF Joe Allen, 8 -- Very good performance from the Welshman who linked the midfield and attack well with typically accurate short passing. Won back possession frequently and was always available for a pass. Almost created a goal for Sturridge after winning the ball off Dan Gosling and delivering a perfect through ball that the striker collected, only to be denied by the post.
MF Sheyi Ojo, 8 -- Having looked nervous at times during his full debut last week against Stoke, the 18-year-old seemed much more relaxed this time and settled into the game very quickly. Made several exciting runs and proved to be a good outlet throughout. Also showed remarkable maturity at times to slow the game down and make sure his team kept possession whenever Bournemouth looked to be building up a head of steam. Looks to have a big future.
MF Roberto Firmino, 6 -- Ran around a lot to very little effect in the first half but then found himself in the right place at the right time to finish from close range after Artur Boruc could only parry a wonderful back heeled effort from Sturridge. Linked play quite well in the second half and went close to a second goal when he shot narrowly wide following a corner. Replaced by Divock Origi after 75 minutes.
MF Jordon Ibe, 7 -- He's not had a good time of it recently and has struggled to even make the bench most weeks, but this was more like the Ibe supporters had expected to see much more often. Strong and direct in possession, he was heavily involved in both goals and will hopefully gain confidence from what was clearly his best performance in months. Replaced late on after appearing to suffer cramp.
FW Daniel Sturridge, 8 -- Can be frustratingly greedy on occasions, but his quality is beyond question and his brilliance proved to be the deciding factor. His wonderfully improvised back heel led to the opening goal and minutes later he rose highest to plant a fantastic header into the bottom corner to make it 2-0. After the break he continued to torment Bournemouth and was twice denied by the woodwork. With the Merseyside derby up next he looks to be in the mood to once again torment an Everton side he has enjoyed a lot of success against in recent years.
DF Mamadou Sakho, 6 -- Replaced Toure and within seconds, his hesitation had allowed King to escape and run through on goal. To his credit, the Frenchman got back to make a partial block that allowed Ward to save the day. After that he was generally untroubled and retained possession well.
FW Divock Origi, NR -- With four goals in the last 10 days the young Belgian will have fancied his chances of adding to that tally after replacing Firmino, but the one effort he did manage was deflected wide off a defender. Picked up a back injury that supporters will be desperately hoping isn't serious, as the 20-year-old has emerged recently as a key man.
MF Adam Lallana, NR -- Booed by the home crowd due to leaving them to join rivals Southampton when he was 12 years old! It certainly didn't affect him as he produced an impressive cameo after coming on for Ibe.
Dave Usher is one of ESPN FC's Liverpool bloggers. Follow him on Twitter: @theliverpoolway.