CHERRIES endured a painful afternoon against Premier League leaders Liverpool as they fell to a fifth straight top-flight defeat for the first time.

Goals from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mo Salah sealed a 3-0 win for the visitors, but the problems did not end there with both Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson forced off with what appeared to be hamstring injuries.

The defeat, coupled with results elsewhere, sees Cherries slip to within one point of the relegation zone ahead of next week’s trip to Chelsea.

Eddie Howe made two changes to the side which lost to 10-man Crystal Palace on Tuesday, both of which were enforced. Simon Francis was recalled at right-back in place of the injured Adam Smith, while Ryan Fraser came in for Harry Wilson, who was ineligible to face his parent club. Andrew Surman and Jordon Ibe returned from injury and illness respectively to take their places among the substitutes.

Liverpool made seven changes from their midweek Merseyside derby thrashing of Everton with Salah, Roberto Firmino and goalkeeper Alisson among those to come into the side.

Leaders Liverpool, who came into the game on a club-record run of 32 Premier League games without defeat, dominated possession in the early stages. But chances were few and far between with Cherries holding firm, while Aaron Ramsdale was alert to grab a curling Salah strike.

The hosts were not without threat themselves at the other end either, utilising pace on the counter-attack. Fraser released Dominic Solanke down the wing, who cut inside and saw his shot deflected just wide off Dejan Lovren.

James Milner and Arnaut Danjuma exchanged strikes before Solanke again latched onto a Fraser through ball, but he was unable to capitalise on the extra man in attack as Virgil van Dijk made the block.

Cherries will have been happy with their display in the first half an hour to contain the visitors, but the afternoon was defined by a disastrous two-minute spell.

First star centre-back Ake, who had previously not missed a Premier League minute since December 2018, was forced off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury. Jack Simpson replaced him for his first top-flight appearance of the campaign and within 60 seconds, Liverpool were in front.

Jordan Henderson collected the ball just inside his own half and sent a searching long ball to Oxlade-Chamberlain, who raced in behind Mepham and slotted past Ramsdale, despite a touch from the goalkeeper.

And before half-time, it was 2-0. Keita picked out Salah in the box, who held off two challenges before playing a backheel through to the Guinean to prod home from 10 yards.

Liverpool almost grabbed a third in stoppage time against a shell-shocked Cherries when substitute Trent Alexander-Arnold’s corner was flicked on by Firmino to Salah, who turned wide at the back post.

But the Egyptian did not have to wait much longer to get on the scoresheet. Less than 10 minutes had elapsed in the second half when Keita intercepted a loose Simpson pass and sent Salah in behind Mepham to tuck beyond Ramsdale.

When it appeared things could not get much worse, striker Wilson was then forced off midway through the second half, holding the back of his leg after making a chase down the wing.

Cherries did get the ball in the net when Danjuma tapped in a low Diego Rico cross, but the Spaniard was offside in the build-up.

Henderson went close to adding a fourth for Jurgen Klopp’s men at the death, but Ramsdale produced a fine diving save.

Cherries: Ramsdale; Francis, Mepham, Ake (Simpson, 35), Rico; Fraser, Lerma, Billing (L Cook, 58), Danjuma; Solanke, C Wilson (Gosling, 64).

Unused subs: Stacey, Surman, Ibe, Boruc (g/k).

Liverpool: Alisson; Gomez, Lovren (Alexander-Arnold, 40), van Dijk, Robertson (Jones, 76); Keita, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Shaqiri, 87), Firmino.

Unused subs: Elliott, Mane, Origi, Adrian (g/k).

Booked: Gomez.

Referee: Chris Kavanagh.