Injury-hit Reds denied an important victory in the chase for Champions League places on Wednesday night by a late Joshua King strike…
On a day when Liverpool FC were hit with a ban on transfers at Academy level, they also received a potentially significant setback at first-team level courtesy of AFC Bournemouth.
The Cherries, who dramatically beat the Reds 4-3 at the Vitality Stadium back in December, scored in both the opening seven minutes and the closing three minutes to claim their first-ever point at Anfield.
In between Benik Afobe’s opener, gifted to the powerful forward by an awful Georginio Wijnaldum back-pass, and Joshua King’s late leveller, Liverpool had managed to turn things around through Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi.
But, as was the case in the reverse fixture when they lead 1-3 with 15 minutes to play, the Merseysiders failed to successfully see out proceedings.
Yet again defensive errors and a failure to find top gear in a match they were expected to win were at the heart of the hosts’ downfall.
Jürgen Klopp‘s side remain third in the Premier League standings for the time being but could mathematically slip as low as sixth if Manchester City, Arsenal and Manchester United win their games in hand.
Analysing the contest at his post-match press conference, the German remarked: “The start was not good; not only the goal we conceded, I think it was the third or fourth pass which we played because we were a little bit late in mind. We were not really concentrated…
“When you start like this, it makes the game not easier, it makes it more difficult, and you could feel the atmosphere in the stadium was then kind of nervous. The noise was not very optimistic, I would say, with each back-pass we played.
“But in a situation like this you need to stay patient, you need to stay calm and play football. There were still a few situations when it looked a little bit stiff and this stuff, but then we scored the goal and that was fantastic, a fantastic moment. We could go in at half-time and start the game new in the second half, which we did.
“We played much better second half, we used the wings better, we played simpler in many situations, we played clearer from behind – in the run of the full-backs, for example…
“We could have scored the third probably – we had the chances, we had the counter attacks.”
In addition to being without a trio of key players in Sadio Mané, Adam Lallana and Jordan Henderson, Klopp was forced to withdraw star man Coutinho midway through the second half.
“Coutinho felt sick at half-time,” revealed the former Borussia Dortmund boss. “He vomited. It’s no joy when you have to take off the best player in this moment on the pitch, because he played really well.
“The result is not what we wanted but it could have been worse, actually. We all know we have lost games like this in the season and tonight we didn’t. Maybe we can take this as a positive.
“It’s my responsibility, all of this, and I have to be clear in this situation. I will find a solution for this.”
Liverpool supporters can take some solace in the fact they’ve already equalled last season’s points tally with seven games remaining, but the result feels like a defeat for a team looking to finish in the top four for the first time since 2014.
The Reds are back in action at 3.00pm BST on Saturday when they travel to mid-table Stoke City.
So that’s what both us and Klopp thought about the game, how about you? Let us know your views below…
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