Liverpool enjoyed a good win over local rivals, Everton last Saturday but it didn’t come as surprise given the Reds performances against the top teams in the Premier League. li
With Everton and Bournemouth visiting Anfield in the space of five days, the former should have been the tougher match. However, deep down, every Liverpool fan knew the game against Bournemouth was going to be the most difficult to win and that’s exactly how it turned out.
Things could not have got off to a worst start for Liverpool, as Georginio Wijnaldum’s under-cooked back pass allowed Bournemouth’s Benik Afobe to pounce and put the visitors into an early 1-0 lead. This was an error purely down to a lack of concentration, the sort of concentration which was there on Saturday afternoon against Everton but went strangely missing at the start of the match against Bournemouth.
The Dutch midfielder was not the only Liverpool player below his best in the first half and the Cherries could have doubled their lead through Marc Pugh’s volley. The words spoken by Klopp in the build up to the game obviously fell on deaf ears, as the Liverpool boss commented on how he wanted his team to think about preventing Bournemouth from scoring and not creating numerous chances themselves.
With the first half drawing to a close, Liverpool grabbed an equaliser just at the right time. Roberto Firmino threaded through a lovely ball to Philippe Coutinho, who managed to get the ball out of his feet before producing a good finish into the corner of the goal. This changed the flow of the match just before half-time and Liverpool came out the better for it in the second half.
Wijnaldum made up for his error in the first half by selling two Bournemouth players a dummy near the by-line and floating over a perfect cross for Divock Origi to head home from four yards out. The Belgian striker could make no mistake from that distance and it was the perfect strikers goal. Bournemouth were well organised but with the presence of a striker on the pitch, who is happy to take up positions on the edge of the six-yard box, Liverpool found a way through. With Sadio Mane injured, it is this type of goal which could prove key to Liverpool picking up points towards the end of the campaign.
Unfortunately, Coutinho had to be withdrawn after 64 minutes and Klopp decided to bring on Joel Matip and change the shape of the team. The defender was left on the bench at the start of the game due to a back problem picked up in the match against Everton but was deemed fit enough to play the final 25 minutes of the match.
With three at the back and two central midfield players in front, it appeared Liverpool were prepared to see the game out and claim the 2-1 win or hit Bournemouth on the break as they poured forward in the closing stages. Sadly, neither of these two things happened.
With 87 minutes played, Bournemouth launched a long throw into the Liverpool penalty area. The defence failed to clear and with the ball firstly bouncing out and then back into the penalty area, Joshua King took advantage by firing the ball home for the visitors to level. Although it was a combination of players defending poorly which led to the goal, Ragnar Klavan looked lost as King took control of the ball inside the penalty area before turning to score the equaliser. It was comical defending and Klopp knew it was simply not good enough.
“We have to take it, it’s our responsibility, my responsibility, all of this,” said Klopp. “I have obviously to be more clear in these situations. But I will find a solution for this”.
The first thing to take from this match is the change in the second half to playing 3-5-2 did not work. Liverpool are not capable of parking the bus, so why decide to try and do it now? It’s a bad time of the season for the manager to begin questioning his own tactics and employing something which even he does not believe is the way to play football.
The second thing was the continued failure to defend properly from dead ball situations. The inability to clear the ball when it is launched into the penalty area is proving very costly and could be again at Stoke this weekend.
The positive was the performance of Divock Origi. He was Liverpool’s best player on the night and despite missing a chance at the far post in the first-half, struck in the second to give Liverpool the lead. In truth, Origi was the only positive in another disappointing performance against a team from the bottom half of the table.
Check out Liverpool 2-2 Bournemouth Jurgen Klopp post match interview below.