David Brooks’ classy display was the catalyst for Bournemouth thrashing Swansea 5-0 to become the first team to book their place in the FA Cup fifth round.

Wales international Brooks scored one goal and provided two assists as the Cherries racked up their biggest FA Cup win against a Football League side since beating Bristol Rovers 6-1 in the 1927-28 season.

Both teams made five changes from their weekend line-ups but that did not stop Bournemouth making light work of their Championship visitors to move into the last 16 for only the third time since 1989.

Andoni Iraola’s Premier League side stormed into a 3-0 lead with less than a quarter of an hour gone as Swansea’s defence completely capitulated on the south coast.

The Cherries took the lead in the seventh minute when defender Lloyd Kelly came up from the back to find himself unmarked to hook Brooks’ free-kick into the roof of the net.

Three minutes later Brooks broke free down the right before pulling the ball back for Alex Scott to make it 2-0.

Kyle Naughton hit the post for the visitors before Luis Sinisterra scored Bournemouth’s third goal with a confident finish into the far corner after Swansea goalkeeper Andrew Fisher had passed the ball straight to Scott.

The irrepressible Brooks had to wait until 10 minutes before half-time to get the goal he fully deserved after keeping himself onside to latch onto Dominic Solanke’s slide-rule pass before side-footing past the helpless Fisher.

Top-scorer Solanke, who had already fired wide from another Brooks free-kick, grabbed the home side’s fifth a minute before half-time after more dreadful defending from the visitors.

Sinisterra played in a teasing low cross from the left wing and Solanke was left with the freedom of the penalty area to side-foot his 14th goal of the season from 10 yards out.

Liam Cullen was unlucky not to reduce the deficit in first-half stoppage-time as his shot was acrobatically tipped over the bar by Bournemouth’s stand-in goalkeeper Mark Travers.

It was the first time the Cherries had been 5-0 up at the interval since beating non-league Margate 11-0 in an FA Cup first round tie in 1971.

Iraola rested Solanke for the second half but his replacement Kieffer Moore could have made it 6-0 within seconds of coming on after narrowly failing to get on the end of James Hill’s floated cross.

Moore came close again 15 minutes from time when his effort from midway inside the Swansea penalty area was deflected behind for a corner, while Milos Kerkez also slotted wide as the hosts failed to add to their tally.

The only negative for Bournemouth, already missing several key defenders, was losing defender James Hill to injury after he landed awkwardly midway through the second half.

Diogo Jota is confident Premier League leaders Liverpool can sustain their quest for silverware in the absence of a host of star names following his second-half brace at Bournemouth.

The Reds set aside being without Mohamed Salah, who is due to return to Merseyside for treatment on a muscle injury suffered at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, to move five points clear at the top thanks to a thumping 4-0 win.

Manager Jurgen Klopp was also missing defenders Andy Robertson, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Kostas Tsimikas and Joel Matip and midfielders Dominik Szoboszlai, Thiago Alcantara and Wataru Endo at Vitality Stadium.

Jota, whose quickfire strikes on the south coast were sandwiched between Darwin Nunez’s double, told Sky Sports: “It’s part of the job, we know we have a few injuries, players going away for national teams. It’s hard.

“We survived December; January is coming thick and fast from now on and we all need to be ready. I think we have the players and the quality to keep winning games.

“Of course we have world-class players – when we have them it’s easier.

“But when we don’t have them, that’s why we are Liverpool because we have good players and we kind of replace them and try to give our best and share the cost of the games between us and keep going.”

Liverpool initially struggled to create chances in their first league game this season without top scorer Salah before Nunez’s 49th-minute finish paved the way to fully capitalise on a weekend off for second-placed Manchester City.

The Reds move on to their Carabao Cup semi-final second leg at Fulham on Wednesday evening holding a 2-1 lead before completing the month by hosting Norwich in the FA Cup and Chelsea in the league.

While goal-scorers Nunez and Jota grabbed the headlines in Dorset, Alexis Mac Allister played an instrumental role.

The Argentina World Cup winner, who was sent off on his Anfield debut in a 3-1 victory over the Cherries in August – a decision which was later overturned, was singled out for his contribution by his manager.

“Absolutely exceptional performance, I have to say,” Klopp said of former Brighton midfielder Mac Allister.

“I’m so happy for us obviously but for him as well.

“He’s a really good footballer, let me say it like that. And he did defensively the job and offensively he is super important anyway for us.”

Bournemouth’s defeat was a second in succession after taking 19 points from the previous 21 available on the back of a 6-1 drubbing at Manchester City.

The 12th-placed Cherries turn their attention to Thursday evening’s FA Cup clash against Swansea, with head coach Andoni Iraola seeking a reaction from his players.

“We’ll see – we have another game, a different competition,” said the Spaniard.

“We know against this top, top level of opposition we have to be at our best and then have moments of some inspiration to finish things to make the final play and we didn’t find it.”

Mohamed Salah will return to Liverpool for treatment on a muscle injury picked up while on international duty, the Egyptian Football Association has announced.

The influential forward was forced off during the first half of Egypt’s 2-2 draw with Ghana in Thursday’s Africa Cup of Nations group match, causing concern for club and country.

It was later revealed the 31-year-old would miss the Pharaohs’ next two fixtures, if they progressed to the knockout stages of the competition in the Ivory Coast.

However, he will now attend Egypt’s final Group B against Cape Verde on Monday, where victory will secure their place in the last 16, before flying back to Liverpool for rehabilitation.

An Egyptian FA statement, posted on Liverpool’s official website on Sunday evening, read: “After additional examinations were conducted on Mohamed Salah during the last hours, and after communication between the national team’s medical staff and his counterpart at Liverpool FC, it was decided that the player will return to England after the Cape Verde match tomorrow to complete his treatment, with the hope that he will join the national team in the semi-final of the AFCON if we qualify.”

Premier League leaders Liverpool initially struggled to create in the absence of their talisman during Sunday’s game at Bournemouth, but moved five points clear at the top thanks to a crushing 4-0 win earned by second-half doubles from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.

Speaking after the victory at the Vitality Stadium, Reds boss Jurgen Klopp said it “makes sense” for Salah to fly back to Merseyside from the tournament.

“That’s the plan,” the German said before the news was confirmed. “If that’s already decided 100 per cent, I don’t know. But that’s the plan.

“However long he’s out, probably everybody sees it like this, it makes sense that he’s doing the rehab with us or with our people. If that’s written in stone already, I don’t know.

“I spoke with him directly after, the night when it happened. Since then he’s in contact with our doctor. I think he will be back.”

Liverpool overcame a slow start on a soggy south coast afternoon to run out resounding victors against the Cherries in their first league match of the season without 14-goal forward Salah.

Nunez broke the deadlock four minutes into the second period and then completed the scoring in added time following Jota’s quick-fire brace as the Reds fully capitalised on a weekend off for second-placed Manchester City.

“We had the opposite of a good start,” said Klopp. “We put ourselves under pressure.

“It’s about winning the game in the end and, as long as you stay in the game, pretty much anything that happens in the game is allowed.

“Today, step by step, we found a way in the game and won it.”

Defeat for 12th-placed Bournemouth was a second in succession in the top flight following 19 points from the previous 21 available.

Cherries boss Andoni Iraola felt his side lost tactical discipline after falling behind.

“We started doing things that we haven’t done before, going too fast, not so disciplined tactically and obviously we played worse in the second half,” said the Spaniard.

“They were really clinical today. The first goal is difficult to defend, the other goals we could do more, we could defend better, react more quickly to the second balls.”

Jurgen Klopp expects Mohamed Salah to return to Liverpool for treatment on the muscle issue he sustained at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt.

Reds top scorer Salah is set to miss his country’s next two games at the tournament in Ivory Coast after suffering a muscle injury in Thursday’s 2-2 draw with Ghana.

Premier League leaders Liverpool initially struggled to create in the absence of their talisman during Sunday’s game at Bournemouth, but moved five points clear at the top thanks to a crushing 4-0 win earned by second-half doubles from Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota.

Klopp feels it “makes sense” for Salah to fly back to Merseyside from AFCON.

“That’s the plan,” the German said following victory at Vitality Stadium.

“If that’s already decided 100 per cent, I don’t know. But that’s the plan.

“However long he’s out, probably everybody sees it like this, it makes sense that he’s doing the rehab with us or with our people. If that’s written in stone already, I don’t know.

“I spoke with him directly after, the night when it happened. Since then he’s in contact with our doctor. I think he will be back.”

Following successive draws against Mozambique and Ghana, Egypt face Cape Verde on Monday evening seeking to progress from Group B.

Asked if Salah would go back to the tournament should his country reach the knockout stages, Klopp said: “I would say if Egypt qualifies for the final, if he’s fit before the final, then probably yes.

“Why not? That’s clear. It’s the tournament.

“Ivory Coast I’m sure is a wonderful country but we have no people from us there and their people have to take care of the people who are playing, so let’s see.”

Liverpool overcame a slow start on a soggy south coast afternoon to run out resounding victors against the Cherries in their first league match of the season without 14-goal forward Salah.

Nunez broke the deadlock four minutes into the second period and then completed the scoring in added time following Jota’s quick-fire brace as the Reds fully capitalised on a weekend off for second-placed Manchester City.

“We had the oppositive of a good start,” said Klopp. “We put ourselves under pressure.

“It’s about winning the game in the end and, as long as you stay in the game, pretty much anything that happens in the game is allowed.

“Today, step by step, we found a way in the game and won it.”

Darwin Nunez and Diogo Jota claimed second-half doubles as Premier League leaders Liverpool moved five points clear with a crushing 4-0 victory away to Bournemouth.

Jurgen Klopp’s Reds initially struggled to create at the Vitality Stadium in the absence of top scorer Mohamed Salah.

But Nunez broke the deadlock early in the second period and completed the scoring in added time following Jota’s quick-fire double.

Victory on a soggy south coast afternoon stretched Liverpool’s unbeaten run to 14 league fixtures as they fully capitalised on a weekend off for second-placed Manchester City.

In-form Bournemouth were competitive for large parts of a frenetic encounter, but rarely threatened en route to only their second defeat in nine games.

A difficult outing for Andoni Iraola’s hosts could have been worse as Justin Kluivert was perhaps fortunate to escape a red card for a first-half challenge on Luis Diaz.

Liverpool were back in top-flight action for the first time since New Year’s Day, but without talisman Salah, who has sustained a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations with Egypt, in the league for the first time this season.

The Reds were unable to find fluency in the opening stages as Bournemouth began brighter, albeit without testing Alisson.

Klopp’s men grew into the game and eventually enjoyed some meaningful territory.

Alexis Mac Allister fired wide from distance, before long-range efforts from Nunez and Diaz were comfortably collected by Cherries goalkeeper Neto.

Bournemouth, who had also not played a league fixture for three weeks, then breathed a sigh of relief in the 35th minute when Kluivert avoided punishment after catching Diaz with a high, studs-up tackle.

Ryan Christie eventually registered the hosts’ maiden attempt at goal in the 39th minute – a tame effort straight at Alisson – and was then unable to turn home Kluivert’s dangerous low centre just before the break.

Following a fairly forgettable first half devoid of clear chances, Liverpool capitalised on sloppy defending to edge ahead four minutes after the restart.

Ibrahima Konate’s cross-field ball was chested down by the unmarked Curtis Jones and then moved on to Jota, whose first-time pass was confidently slotted into the bottom right corner by Nunez.

Nunez, who was unfavourably compared to former Liverpool striker Andy Carroll by gloating home fans in the first half, was also involved in his side’s 70th-minute second.

The powerful Uruguay forward caused problems for Bournemouth defender Chris Mepham, allowing Reds substitute Cody Gakpo to pounce on the loose ball and slip in Jota to find the net via the base of the right post.

Jota extinguished any hope of a Cherries fightback just nine minutes later.

The Portugal forward miskicked his first effort following a pass from Premier League debutant Conor Bradley, but swiftly silenced ironic cheers by rifling into the bottom left corner.

Cherries substitute David Brooks wasted a golden chance to claim a consolation when he dinked wide in 90th minute.

And Nunez, who claimed the winner when the clubs met in the Carabao Cup fourth round at the start of November, rubbed salted into Bournemouth wounds three minutes into added time by registering his second with a fine close-range finish.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp believes his team have returned refreshed from their mini-break and are ready to push on in the Premier League title race.

They returned to training on Wednesday – a week after their last game – and head to Bournemouth looking to extend their advantage at the top to five points.

While they will still be missing talisman Mohamed Salah, who is at the Africa Cup of Nations, and are waiting for the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andy Robertson and Dominik Szoboszlai to return from injury, Klopp believes everyone benefited from a break from the intensity of the Premier League.

“Friday was the third session since we are back and you could see it was really important to everybody, for everybody,” he said.

“As much as they like going on holiday, the thing they like most is actually playing football and that’s really cool to see.

“Nobody wanted to have three or four weeks, we are in the middle of a season (and) we love what happened so far.

“We are looking forward to what’s coming up, but these four days were just top class. We had a break and now we can go for the rest of the season.”

Victory at the Vitality Stadium would bring up 22 points away from home, just one short of their previous campaign, and Liverpool are already 16 points ahead of where they were at this point last season.

However, Bournemouth are one of the top flight’s form teams with six wins and a draw from their last eight league matches and have not lost at home in the league since October 21 after new manager Adoni Iraola turned things around after just one win in their first 11 matches.

“When you don’t play them at the weekend I really have time to admire what he (Iraola) is doing there,” said Klopp.

“They turned it around – that’s real coaching – and he found a way to set this team up.

“It will be a difficult game, but I don’t think they are now preparing the game against us and thinking, ‘Thank God Liverpool is coming’ because we feel good as well.”

Part of Bournemouth’s recent success is the contribution from former Liverpool forward Dominic Solanke, who has eight goals in as many league appearances, and 12 in 19 top-flight league games so far after just one in 21 league games for the Reds.

“He made the absolute right decision to go,” said Klopp.

“He went the hard way, trying here, realising, ‘Maybe a bit too early’ and then going to Bournemouth.”

Liverpool winger Luis Diaz is one goal away from recording his best scoring campaign (six) since joining in January 2022.

After going through the trauma of having his parents kidnapped in his native Colombia, he was reunited with his family for Christmas on Merseyside and Klopp has seen a change in the winger’s demeanour.

“After after the most challenging time of his life, which nobody is prepared for, he’s back. You can see it in each training session it’s different,” said Klopp.

“He cannot not smile when he is on the ball. There were a few weeks where I missed that a little bit, but the smile is back.”

Jurgen Klopp has opened the door for Sven-Goran Eriksson to spend the day as Liverpool manager.

Eriksson revealed earlier this month that he had in a “best case” scenario around a year to live after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.

During a round of TV interviews upon revealing his health issues, former England boss Eriksson disclosed his lifelong love for Liverpool and how he always wished to be manager of the club.

Robbie Fowler, who played under Eriksson for England, hinted on X, formerly know as Twitter, that a call had been made for the 75-year-old Swede to manage a Liverpool Legends team at Anfield in 2024, but the current Reds boss has gone a step further.

“I don’t know him, unfortunately not,” Klopp was quoted as saying in various newspapers.

“I know him without knowing him, we never met.

“Yes, it was obviously very touching news when you heard about it. I heard for the first time about his admiration or love for Liverpool and that he was a fan for his whole life.

“So, I heard now about the legends match and stuff like that. I’m not in charge of that so I can’t say anything about that.

“The only thing I can say is absolutely he’s very welcome to come here and he can sit in my seat in my office and do my job for a day if he wants. That’s no problem.

“Being on the sideline might be a little bit more difficult. To have him here and show him everything and how this wonderful club developed over the years, I think that’s definitely something we will tell him.

“He can come over and have a few wonderful hours here, I’m sure.”

Napoli have signed Ivory Coast midfielder Hamed Traore on loan for the rest of the season.

Traore, 23, links up with the Italian champions having made 13 appearances for Bournemouth since arriving from Sassuolo last January.

“From Ivory Coast to Napoli. Welcome Hamed!,” Napoli posted on social media, announcing Traore’s arrival.

Traore began his career at Empoli and initially joined Bournemouth on loan.

The move was made permanent in May 2022 for a reported £20million fee.

A Cherries statement read: “Everyone connected with AFC Bournemouth wishes Hamed well for the remainder of the season.”

Andoni Iraola hailed Bournemouth’s half-time belief after they fought back from two goals down to beat QPR 3-2 and reach the FA Cup fourth round.

Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes gave the Championship hosts the advantage at the break.

But strikes from Marcus Tavernier, Kieffer Moore and Justin Kluivert helped the Cherries produce an impressive comeback at Loftus Road.

Iraola said: “We had to play with much more urgency. We were keeping possession without attacking spaces and we were not making the differences.

“Second half we had a higher rhythm and we made the difference. It’s good that we are in a good mental position because we have played good lately.

“I could feel at half-time that we believed it was possible. The mentality of the players was that we can do it. We felt if we improved we would have a chance.”

QPR have struggled defending set-pieces since Marti Cifuentes took over in October.

Iraola lauded the execution of Moore’s equaliser when the striker beat goalkeeper Asmir Begovic and got on the end of Alex Scott’s corner after 58 minutes.

He said: “They’ve struggled with defensive set-pieces and luckily for us our execution was really good and we could score the goals.

“We had a change of attitude and we needed to play in a different way.”

Cifuentes acknowledged his side’s poor set-piece record and that it could be a mental issue.

The Spaniard refused to take aim at 36-year-old Begovic despite the error.

He said: “You don’t have to be a genius to see the stats and that since I’ve been here we’ve conceded 15 goals and 10 of them have been from set-pieces.

“Unfortunately set-pieces have been an issue for a while and we are not getting better so we need the balance. It can be an issue mentally as well.

“The fact we are conceding goals from set-pieces is more than just the keeper, Asmir is a very experienced keeper, he knows how to handle.

“He’s the type of leader who wants to take responsibility. I don’t want to point individually, this is a team task.”

Bournemouth produced a stunning second-half comeback to beat QPR 3-2 and reach the fourth round of the FA Cup.

The Championship strugglers scored two goals in quick succession before the break through Sinclair Armstrong and Lyndon Dykes at Loftus Road.

But the Cherries came out after half-time firing and goals from Marcus Tavernier, Kieffer Moore and Justin Kluivert secured their seventh win in nine matches in all competitions.

QPR looked to strike early in the 10th minute. Andre Dozzell turned his man in midfield and combined with Dykes before his cross was too high for the striker to get on the end of.

The hosts continued their positive start in the 15th minute when Dykes forced Mark Travers into action.

Paul Smyth showed blistering pace to beat his marker and his cross onto the head of Dykes was denied by the acrobatic Travers, who got down quickly at his right post.

The Cherries started to warm into the tie and they went close after 21 minutes when Philip Billing’s driven shot across goal narrowly missed the target.

Bournemouth struggled up to that point but a moment of brilliance from Billing to retrieve the ball off Luis Sinisterra, dribble and get a shot off highlighted their Premier League quality.

But it was the Championship side who scored first after 40 minutes.

A searching ball forward found Armstrong with his back facing Bournemouth’s goal on halfway. The striker turned Marcos Senesi with ease and glided through on goal where he produced a placed finish into the bottom-right corner.

And straight after the restart in the 42nd minute Dykes got the goal he deserved and Rangers stormed into a 2-0 lead.

The attacker cut inside from the left and his long-range effort took a heavy deflection off Max Aarons, whose poor positioning saw the ball loop over the helpless Travers and into the net.

Bournemouth flew out of the blocks in the second half and grabbed a goal through Tavernier in the 48th minute.

Both sides scrapped for the loose ball in QPR’s box after a set-piece but it fell nicely to Tavernier, whose effort took another heavy deflection before it bounced past Asmir Begovic.

Bournemouth equalised in the 58th minute through Moore.

Alex Scott’s inswinging corner was whipped into the danger zone and Moore beat Begovic in the air to nod his side back into the game from six yards.

The visitors completed the turnaround after 69 minutes through Kluivert.

Billing, who had been outstanding all game, turned the ball over in QPR’s defensive third before he picked out Kluivert at the back post.

Kluivert, son of former Barcelona and Netherlands striker Patrick Kluivert, showed how clinical he can be when he finished first time to seal victory for Bournemouth.

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou played down his heated touchline exchange with Bournemouth’s backroom staff towards the end of an entertaining 3-1 home win.

Pape Sarr, Son Heung-min and Richarlison were on target to fire fifth-placed Spurs to a fourth victory in five matches, which puts them three points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool going into 2024.

The back and forth contest threatened to spill over towards its conclusion when young Tottenham substitute Alejo Veliz suffered a suspected knee injury and while he attempted to play on, he was repeatedly told by Postecoglou and his staff to stay down to receive treatment.

It led to Postecoglou exchanging words with Bournemouth first-team coach Shaun Cooper in stoppage time before a melee ensued on the touchline, which resulted in referee Stuart Hooper booking the duo and Spurs midfielder Giovani Lo Celso.

But Postecoglou joked: “We were just wishing each other happy new year.

“It’s alright. Just a little bit of emotion in the game. I was more concerned with Alejo because we were kind of trying to get him off the field and, apart from my physically going on the pitch and dragging him off, he wasn’t really going to go down.

“So, we were just shouting at him and I think the Bournemouth staff thought, I don’t know what they thought, maybe that we were trying to make a substitution but we knew we had none. It was just about getting him off.”

Opposite number Andoni Iraola was also happy to brush off the incident, although suggested it was clever game management.

“No, it is normal. I think it is what all the teams do. When you are winning the game, you want to play as less as possible, you want to stop,” Cherries head coach Iraola said.

“They had Veliz injured and it is normal. We were putting a lot of pressure, even if it was 3-1 and it was a dangerous game for them.

“It is something that when you are winning, we all do. We try to play as less as possible and we have to accept it.

“He (Veliz) is injured but he has to go to the bench and sit. We cannot wait because he is injured.

“It was obvious he was injured, for sure. I know otherwise he would continue playing and running, no? But he could just walk to the bench but it is normal.

“He tried to play because it was good for them try to continue playing, stop a little bit, continue, stop because we were pushing a lot and sometimes you have to manage the game like this. It is normal and we have to accept it.”

While Postecoglou was able to toast a victorious end to 2023, Spurs’ injury crisis reared its ugly head again with a tearful Sarr forced off with a hamstring injury and Veliz also emotional upon leaving the pitch.

Rodrigo Bentancur did make a surprise return a month ahead of schedule from an ankle injury, which is a timely boost with Sarr and Yves Bissouma set for Africa Cup of Nations duty next month and Son also in Asian Cup action.

“Pape felt his hamstring and he’s emotional because he wants to go away with his national team,” Postecoglou said.

“Disappointing for him but I am hoping it is not too serious and he can still go away and contribute to his country.

“Alejo was in a lot of pain.”

On Bentancur, Postecoglou said: “I thought he was great today. Apart from the win, that was probably the most pleasing thing that he got through 60 minutes and he can help us from here on.”

Son Heung-min grabbed his 12th goal of the season to help Tottenham to an entertaining 3-1 home victory over Bournemouth.

It earned Spurs a fourth win in five Premier League matches, but this was far from comfortable against Andoni Iraola’s in-form side.

Pape Sarr opened the scoring for Tottenham in the ninth minute, but left the pitch in tears with an injury to put his Africa Cup of Nations participation in doubt and Ange Postecoglou’s men had to wait until the 71st minute for a second.

Son doubled the hosts’ advantage ahead of Asian Cup duty with South Korea next month and Richarlison scored his fifth goal in as many matches before Alex Scott hit a late consolation for the Cherries.

This result coupled with Arsenal’s loss at Fulham means fifth-placed Tottenham are only a point behind their rivals going into 2024.

Spurs were eager to respond after being blown away by Brighton on Thursday and received a timely injury boost with Rodrigo Bentancur fit enough to start.

It was a month ahead of schedule and much-needed for Spurs boss Postecoglou.

While all eyes were on how Son would sign off, it was Senegal midfielder Sarr who grabbed the opener with his second goal for Tottenham.

Bentancur nipped in quickly in midfield before Giovani Lo Celso beat Lewis Cook, which opened up space for Sarr and he rifled into the bottom corner from 18 yards.

It was a great start for the hosts, but they were intent on trying to walk in a second goal until makeshift centre-back Emerson Royal tried his luck and had a piledriver parried away by Neto.

Neto was called into action again midway through the half when Richarlison sent Son away, the Tottenham captain seeing his low effort saved.

Bournemouth, chasing a seventh win in eight matches, started to gain the upper hand on proceedings after and Postecoglou was forced into an early change when goalscorer Sarr went down with a muscle injury.

Sarr left the pitch in tears as Dominic Solanke and Luis Sinisterra squandered decent headed opportunities for the visitors.

A Marcus Tavernier free-kick was diverted wide by Richarlison on the stroke of half-time before Solanke hit the crossbar after Ben Davies’ deflected his shot onto the woodwork as Spurs held a slender lead at the break.

Iraola’s team remained on the front foot and Guglielmo Vicario had to claw away Solanke’s header as the heavens opened in north London.

Richarlison should have made it 2-0 with 52 minutes played when Son sent him away, but the Brazilian attacker scuffed wide.

It was a rare venture forward for Tottenham, who were fortunate again on the hour mark when Solanke flashed wide from close range.

Bentancur had been replaced by this point, but the crucial second goal arrived for the hosts with 19 minutes left.

Lo Celso was the architect with a superb through ball with the outside of his boot and Son found the bottom corner.

Postecoglou could breath a sigh of relief and Richarlison made the points safe 10 minutes from time when he swept home Brennan Johnson’s cross in a carbon copy of his goal against Everton.

Substitute Scott pulled one back from Bournemouth in the 84th minute after Tavernier’s cutback, before Postecoglou was booked after exchanging words with Iraola’s backroom staff amid an injury to Alejo Veliz but Tottenham ended the year on a high.

Ange Postecoglou will hope fit-again Giovani Lo Celso can provide the creative spark for Tottenham when Bournemouth visit on Sunday.

Spurs’ selection issues have increased after Dejan Kulusevski received his fifth caution of the season in Thursday’s 4-2 loss at Brighton and will sit out the New Year’s Eve clash.

Kulusevski had stepped up in the absence of chief creator James Maddison, but Postecoglou is pleased to have Lo Celso to call upon again after a recent muscle injury.

“Gio dropped out the team because he was injured. It wasn’t by decision,” he said.

“He was going well when he got injured. We’re going to have to make another adjustment there (in midfield).

“I thought Gio, when he came on (against Brighton), was good. He was good last week when he came on (against Everton). It’s good to have him back fit and available.”

Lo Celso had scored in consecutive matches before sustaining an injury earlier this month as he attempts a redemption arc at Tottenham.

Signed for a hefty fee in 2019, the Argentina playmaker has struggled but been given a lifeline by Postecoglou and despite continued interest from Barcelona, Spurs have no intention of letting the midfielder leave in January, the PA news agency understands.

Both Lo Celso and Oliver Skipp could earn starts against Bournemouth, who have won six of their last seven games.

Postecoglou added: “Yeah, tough. Every game’s tough. We played Everton, they were on a great run as well.

“Every week’s a challenge. Short turnaround for us. Hopefully we might get Oliver Skipp back, probably the only fresh legs we’ll have to contribute to what we’re doing, but good challenge for us.

“We’re at home. Whilst we’ve had a couple of losses at home, every home game we’ve been well in them and we’ll need to be at our best to match Bournemouth.”

Postecoglou acknowledged it would be a “different” challenge compared to Tottenham’s 2-0 win at Bournemouth in August and also paid tribute to his opposite number Andoni Iraola.


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“He’s done a great job. They didn’t have a great start and it would have been very easy, not just him but the whole club, to shy away from what they were trying to build but they’ve stuck at it,” the Spurs boss explained.

“And the results recently have been very, very promising. It’s credit to him and the football club that they’ve stuck to what the plan’s been.”

Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou has tried to temper expectations after he insisted nothing magical would happen in the January transfer window for his injury-hit side.

Spurs’ mini-revival hit a major speed bump on Thursday night after they were blown away in a 4-2 defeat by Brighton.

Nine players were unavailable for Postecoglou and he will lose the suspended Yves Bissouma, Pape Sarr and captain Son Heung-min for January due to international commitments after Sunday’s clash with Bournemouth.

While a centre-back is top of the club’s wish list and the PA news agency understands talks are under way with Nice over defender Jean-Clair Todibo, Postecoglou played down any assumption that a flurry of activity would occur in N17.

“Nothing magical’s going to happen in the January window,” Postecoglou said.

“What we need to do is just keep building. We’ve had one window with this team to change it around, to do things differently.

“The fact that we’re in the (fifth) position we are is a credit to the players. For all the challenges we’ve had, we just kept ploughing forward and that’s what we’ll do.

“We’ll see what we can do in January, but ultimately it’s about building a side that will get us to where we want to.”

One outgoing expected to be finalised in the coming days is Hugo Lloris’ departure with the former captain close to agreeing a move to Los Angeles FC on a free transfer, PA understands.

Postecoglou added: “Obviously there’s stuff happening but I’ve been focused on the game. I’m sure we’ll hear something next couple of days.”

Further movement in Spurs’ current squad could depend on incomings and especially with options light in midfield.

Tottenham’s long list of absentees means Postecoglou has used 27 players in all competitions this season, but he refuted suggestions this injury-crisis has enabled him to learn more about his team in a shorter space of time.

“I don’t think you need to go through injuries to see that,” he said.

“It would be unfair to judge some players. The way we play takes a fairly hefty physical toll, more than the way other clubs play. For us to sustain and maintain that and be a team, it’s no secret we need a strong squad.

“We’re nowhere near that at the moment, understandably so. Obviously we’ve only had one window. It was never going to happen (in one window).

“We’re still at the beginnings. Within that context, we want to compete. We’ve got ourselves in a position where we can compete. That’s what we need to keep pushing forward for.”

Meanwhile, captain Son urged his team-mates to bounce back from their Brighton humbling when Bournemouth visit on New Year’s Even.

He told SpursPlay: “Sometimes you have to be honest and take the result.

“Going 4-0 down is just hard and not the way we want to play, it is not our style of playing football.


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“It is very disappointing, but we have to move on because another game is coming very quick.

“A bad performance from us and it shouldn’t happen this, but the last 15 minutes we have to take that good energy into the next game because it’s at our home and we have to get three points before the new year starts.”

Oliver Skipp (knock) will be checked on, but Dejan Kulusevski is suspended for Bournemouth’s visit.

What the papers say

Dominic Solanke has emerged as a potential solution to Tottenham’s hunt for a striker. The Sun reports Spurs are watching the Bournemouth forward, 26, ahead of a summer signing.

Tottenham are also being linked with Belgium midfielder Arther Vermeeren, 18. According to The Sun, Spurs are willing to pay Royal Antwerp £25million in January with an agreement to loan him back for the rest of the season.

Jesse Lingard’s search for a new club has reached Lille, according to the Daily Mirror. But the 31-year-old former Manchester United midfielder, a free agent, could be restricted by a limit on French clubs signing players from outside the EU.

Manchester United are being linked with a move for Dutch striker Joshua Zirkzee, reports the Metro via Sport1. The 22-year-old, who is valued at £26m million, has scored seven goals in 17 games for Serie A side Bologna.

Social media round-up Players to watch

Raphael Varane: The former France defender, 30, is keen on a return to his first club Lens, according to L’Equipe in France.

Goncalo Inacio: Arsenal lead the race for the Sporting defender, 22, but Liverpool are also interested, reports Portuguese outleft A Bola.

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