Here’s five talking points from the away loss to Bournemouth.
Liverpool fell to a shock 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium yesterday, as a goal from Phillip Billing was enough to give Gary O’Neil’s side a crucial victory.
For Jurgen Klopp’s side, it’s a polarising feeling after beating Manchester United 7-0 last week as they missed out on the chance to go level on points with Tottenham in fourth place.
Mohamed Salah also missed a second half penalty to compound their misery and now they head to the Bernabeu off-the-back of another poor away performance.
With issues in midfield and a lack of cutting edge up front, there’s plenty to discuss.
Here’s five things we learned from the defeat to Bournemouth.
Midfield experiment didn’t work
Liverpool’s midfield has come under fire plenty of times this season, especially away from home, and it was evident here again as Klopp simply got one wrong. The issue was starting both Stefan Bajcetic and Harvey Elliott as Klopp prioritised technicality and youth over presence and experience.
Billing and Lerma enjoyed plenty of success for the majority of the first half and whilst Bajcetic and Elliott are both are fine young players with big futures, it just didn’t work today and shouldn’t be used again away from home.
Salah isn’t perfect
Having never missed a penalty for Liverpool in the Premier League, Salah fired his penalty high and wide in a moment of madness from 12 yards. He was simply sensational against United last week, but this was one of his worst ever Liverpool performances overall.
Despite their dominance in terms of shots and possession, Salah was never in the game and his penalty just summed up what was an uncharacteristically bad performance.
Jota needs time
The Portuguese international has only just recently returned to action and he came on at half-time here and showed that he will need time to return to the form that Liverpool fans know and love.
He looked sharp in the opening few minutes after coming on as he forced Neto into a smart save but struggled to maintain that level as Liverpool struggled to create anything of note in the second half.
Gakpo shows there’s more to his game
Having found his feet on Merseyside in recent games, Gakpo showcased his ability to drive forward on a few occasions from deeper positions as he showed a sharp turn of pace on more than one occasion.
Playing in that false nine role, he showed can offer an all-round game and he was fouled three times today and was one of their best players.
Nunez was sharp early on but was brought off in the 66th minute for Roberto Firmino as Klopp looked to change shape. It didn’t work and considering the aerial threat the Uruguayan offers, it was strange that the Liverpool manager opted to bring him off.
In his place, Firmino struggled to make any sort of impact and leaving Nunez on would have likely given them more of a goal threat as the Cherries sat penned in their own half to protect their one-goal lead.