Bournemouth 0-2 Liverpool
Goals from Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge ensured Liverpool a safe passage into the FA Cup fifth round with a 2-0 win at Bournemouth on Saturday.
On-loan Chelsea winger Moses squeezed a shot through a number of Cherries players to open the scoring in the 26th minute after collecting a Luis Suarez cross on the edge of the area.
Sturridge was also the beneficiary of a great through ball from the Uruguay international on the hour mark before he fired home.
But Bournemouth were unfortunate to be denied a penalty three minutes before Sturridge's goal when Martin Kelly appeared to pull back Simon Francis inside the area.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers opted for a strong team with Suarez, Sturridge and Gerrard all starting, despite the team facing a Merseyside derby on Tuesday.
The home side enjoyed a good period of pressure in the opening exchanges, and Kolo Toure needed to be alert as Lewis Grabban chased on to a 10th-minute ball over the top.
Three minutes later, a floated Francis free-kick from near the halfway line forced Brad Jones to push the ball over the crossbar.
Despite their confident start, the Cherries did not threaten Jones' goal, and they paid the price in the 26th minute as Moses opened the scoring for Liverpool.
Suarez chased down the right for Sturridge's pass before laying the ball across the area to the on-loan Chelsea man on the edge of the box.
The winger was closed down swiftly by four Bournemouth players, including Matt Ritchie, but his snapshot still squeezed through and beyond goalkeeper Lee Camp's dive.
Well taken by Moses, but Liverpool not really worth their lead, in all honesty. Grabban and Matt Ritchie's haircut troubling them equally.— Rory Smith (@RorySmithTimes) January 25, 2014
But Bournemouth were not giving up the fight, and Andy Surman forced a great save from Jones before Tommy Elphick rose highest in the area to head just over the bar.
Surman almost broke clear in the 40th minute, but Gerrard did just enough to put him off his stride and his eventual shot was held easily by Jones.
And Liverpool took a one-goal lead into the interval.
Bournemouth 0-1 Liverpool HT: Top rated players - Moses (7.5), Touré (7.1), Suárez (7.0), Arter / Gerrard (6.9) #AFCBvLFC— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) January 25, 2014
The opening stages of the second period were a quiet affair, which will have suited Liverpool more than their hosts.
Play was broken up in the 52nd minute when Liverpool defender Martin Skrtel required treatment on an injury, which allowed lunchtime viewers to watch his head being stapled.
Gerrard did well to block a cross from Harry Arter, and the England international was booked for dissent as he questioned why there was no offside flag.
Liverpool defender Kelly was fortunate to escape giving away a penalty in the 57th minute when he pulled down Francis inside the area.
On the hour mark, though, Liverpool effectively sealed the tie through Sturridge.
Kelly played the ball into Suarez from the right, and the striker's perfect pass split the Cherries defence and Sturridge raced through to fire past Camp.
Suarez went close in the 75th minute when Sturridge sent his strike partner clear on goal, but the South American nonchalantly clipped the ball over the bar from distance.
Bournemouth continued to look for a way back into the game, with Grabban going close late on, but Liverpool held on to claim their place in Sunday's draw for the fifth round.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers applauded Bournemouth and Eddie Howe for their display, as Mark Bryans of The Independent reported:
When you have a team that want to play football they are the most courageous players on the field.
It is easy to coach a team to sit back, not want the ball and defend and then just wait for a hump up the pitch.
The courage that the Bournemouth players showed today was fantastic. They have got better, I have watched them as the season has gone on.
It is coaches like Eddie Howe who will take the game forward in this country because they believe in a way of working and they have a philosophy.
Bournemouth are a very good side and I give credit to them first of all. Eddie is similar to myself in terms of the philosophy of football.
It is not easy when you're a young manager to stick your head out to get your teams to play and pass the ball but he certainly does that.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe was left to regret a lack of goal-scoring threat in the same article:
I don't think it (a positive result) was far away.
Everyone says goals change games and they do because with their first real attack they have scored and showed the cutting edge that we didn't unfortunately.
We are trying to build a club that is club here that is built of possession very much like Liverpool, we very much want to go down that route.
This was a chance for us today to go toe-to-toe with a really good football team and see if we could beat them footballing-wise.
On another day with better decision making in and around the box we could have led at half-time.
Selected Player Ratings
Luis Suarez: A
A relatively quiet first half for Liverpool striker Suarez at the Goldsands Stadium, but he did find space on the right side to set up Moses for the opening goal.
He produced a wonderful pass to set up Sturridge for Liverpool's second goal on the hour mark.
Steven Gerrard: A-
A solid shift for the Liverpool captain, and he needed to work hard to close down Bournemouth.
Some important tackles were found to break down Bournemouth attacks.
Lewis Grabban: A-
He looked a potential threat to Liverpool in the opening stages, but chances were at a premium for the striker in his lone role up front.
Grabban looks like a really decent player - pace, desire to get on the ball and causing Kolo Toure a few problems.— Joe Krishnan (@joekrishnan) January 25, 2014
Liverpool face a crucial Merseyside derby on Tuesday when their Premier League title credentials will be given a stern test by neighbours Everton.
Bournemouth will play host to Huddersfield Town on the same night in the Championship.