EDDIE Howe watched Cherries become the latest victims of Liverpool’s ruthless strike-force and then said he hoped his players would learn from their chastening experience at Anfield.

Goals from Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino sentenced Cherries to defeat at the hands of Jurgen Klopp’s Champions League semi-finalists.

Mane’s seventh-minute opener put the visitors on the back foot in the early stages with Howe’s team forced to defend in numbers during a first half dominated by the hosts.

And although Cherries fared better after the break, they were undone when Salah headed home his 40th goal of the campaign before Firmino killed them off with a late third.

Howe said: “It was a difficult game. Full credit to Liverpool because comparing them to last season, I think they have really improved and grown as a team.

“They have shown that throughout the season in both the Premier League and Champions League.

“They are a tough team to play at the moment and we struggled to live with their pace, energy and intensity in the first half.

“We rode our luck at times and were pleased to come in only 1-0 down.

“I thought we improved greatly in the second half and were well in the game until a brilliant second goal, from their perspective, killed the game.

“They are a difficult team to stop because they have good players everywhere and are playing with so much confidence at the moment. We found it a challenge to keep them at bay.

“Individually, there were some really good performances from some of our players and Nathan Ake and Steve Cook displayed a really good attitude and mentality to help the team.

“But, collectively, I didn’t think we were strong enough. As a group, I felt we were a little passive during the first period and a little too deep with our defensive line.

“It is difficult to contain them. We went with five defenders to try to make sure we weren’t stretched as a back four and weren’t pulled too far across the pitch.

“We had an extra body in there to help us but that weakens you in other areas of the team. We found it difficult to get a platform to stay in the game and be an attacking threat.

“It was only in the latter stages that we came into it with the ball and created a couple of really good chances which could have made it interesting in the final 10 minutes but it wasn’t to be.

“For all our players, I thought it was a real learning experience and a chance to grow. These games are invaluable for our learning as a team to make sure we give better and continually improve.”

Defeat left Cherries six points clear of the relegation zone with four games remaining, starting with the visit of second-placed Manchester United to Vitality Stadium on Wednesday.