Liverpool were brought back down to earth with a bump following their 7-0 hammering of Manchester United last weekend, losing 1-0 to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds’ Champions Leagues hopes this season were dealt a blow with the defeat. With a game in hand and superior goal difference over fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur, victory would have put them in a great position to overtake Antonio Conte’s side in the race for the final Champions League spot. However, it is now Spurs who are arguably in pole position with favourable ties in Nottingham Forest, Southampton and Everton up next.
Liverpool meanwhile face Man City, Chelsea and Arsenal in their next three, while Champions League chasing Newcastle United and Brighton & Hove Albion also have games in hand over them.
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Bournemouth had won just one in 11 meetings with the Reds before today and their last seven meetings had an aggregate scoreline of 28-1. But a sole Philip Billing strike was enough to secure a vital three points in their battle for survival in the top-flight and earn sweet revenge for the 9-0 thrashing at Anfield in August.
Gary O’Neill’s side have moved from the bottom of the Premier League table to 16th, although their relegation rivals are still yet to play this weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s men nearly had an early lead in the sixth minute courtesy of Virgil van Dijk. The towering Dutch defender was found at the far post from a corner but his header was cleared off the line after Jefferson Lerma reacted quickly.
The Cherries nearly hit Liverpool on the counter soon after when Dominic Solanke threaded Dango Ouattara through and put him one-on-one with Alisson. The Burkina Faso international’s first touch was too heavy though and his shot could only find the side netting.
Cody Gakpo thought he’d put the visitors ahead when he prodded home Darwin Nunez's header past Neto from close-range, but he was a few yards offside and the flag was immediately up.
Bournemouth’s top scorer Billing surprised everyone when he scored against league leaders Arsenal in just 9.11 seconds last time out - the second fastest goal in Premier League history - and shocked everyone again to give his side an unlikely lead today. The excellent Ouattara found space to get away down the right flank and into the box, and fed the Danish midfielder through for a tap-in and his sixth goal in all competitions this season.
Billing, who ended a run of five straight clean sheets in the Premier League for Liverpool, now has twice as many goals this season as his previous three campaigns in the competition combined (3 in 77 apps).
Liverpool fans thought that Van Dijk had brought them level going into the break when Andy Robertson’s delivery to the far post met the centre-back’s head but, from six yards out, he somehow put it wide.
Diogo Jota, replacing Harvey Elliott for his 100th appearance in a Liverpool shirt at the break, nearly had an instant impact. The Portuguese star drove towards the home side’s box but Neto reacted deftly to palm away his subsequent shot.
The away side continued to pile on the pressure in search of an equaliser. Trent Alexander-Arnold's free kick found Nunez unmarked in the box but the Uruguayan’s header landed on the roof of the net while the offside flag was up.
Despite their dominance, Liverpool could have been dealt a hammer blow on the counter. The ever dangerous Ouattara on the right got away from his man and produced a sublime cross but Billing failed to connect.
Liverpool’s lifeline finally came in the form of a Bournemouth handball in the box. With the in-form Mo Salah stepping up to take the following penalty, you’d think the equaliser was inevitable. However, the Egyptian superstar, who has five goals and four assists in his last six games in all competitions, sent his effort dreadfully wide. It was truly one of the worst penalty misses in recent memory.
The defeat ends the Merseyside outfit’s run of five games unbeaten in the league and means that the Reds are still yet to win a Premier League away game when conceding first this season.
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