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How Salah misses penalty in Cherries loss


BOURNEMOUTH 1-0 LIVERPOOL: Mohamed Salah misses a vital penalty as the Reds fail to score against the Premier League’s worst defence to slip up in race for a top-four finish.


Mohamed Salah missed a penalty as Liverpool lost at Bournemouth, the week after putting seven past Manchester United.


Liverpool came into this game full of confidence, with five straight clean sheets in the Premier League and a 7-0 thrashing of United in the back of their minds. But the visitors struggled hugely on the south coast, with Bournemouth relatively comfortable in holding on for a massive win.


Dango Ouattara twice threatened in behind the Liverpool defence before racing away from Virgil van Dijk to cross for Philip Billing to make it 1-0 with a tap-in. Van Dijk could easily have scored two headers at the other end, but Liverpool went in behind at the break.


Jurgen Klopp rang the changes in the second half but Liverpool – the same side who had laid waste to Manchester United last weekend – struggled to create anything against the Premier League’s worst defence.


They were gifted a way back into the match when Diogo Jota’s header struck Adam Smith’s hand in the box. Referee John Brooks awarded a penalty after consulting his pitchside monitor, but Salah smashed his effort well wide of the post.


Liverpool failed to gather up any momentum, allowing Bournemouth to climb off the bottom of the league and out of the relegation zone. Here are Mirror Football’s talking points.

Bournemouth exploit weaknessPhilip Billing of Bournemouth celebrates after he scores a goal to make it 1-0 with pass provider Dango Ouattara

Dango Ouattara terrorised the Liverpool defence 


Robin Jones/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images)

With Andy Robertson pushing up high from left-back, the Cherries were brave, leaving their right-winger in the space he had departed. There were two warnings before Bournemouth took the lead.


Ouattara hit the side-netting after being played in by Dominic Solanke and, minutes later, was marginally offside while trying to bend his run in behind Van Dijk and Ibrahima Konate. Those warnings were not heeded.


Adam Smith popped a ball over the top, Ouattara left Van Dijk for dead and crossed for Billing to tap in, with the Liverpool back four all over the place. This did not look like a side that had kept five straight Premier League clean sheets; it looked like the one that had shipped five to Real Madrid.

Van Dijk strugglesLiverpool's Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk (2R) tackles Bournemouth's Burkinabe striker Dango Ouattara

Virgil van Dijk had a shocking first half 


STEVE BARDENS/AFP via Getty Images)

Liverpool’s towering centre-back had a strange first half on the south coast. He should have scored two goals at one end but was frequently all at sea at the other.


Van Dijk could easily have had the visitors ahead after five minutes, but Jefferson Lerma did well to head his effort off the line from a corner. Van Dijk could easily have had them going in level at half-time, too, but he inexplicably headed Robertson’s deep free-kick wide at the back post.


At the other end, he was all over the place. Bournemouth’s threat in behind left him unsure whether to step up or drop deep. Frequently he made the wrong decision. More worryingly for Liverpool fans, he was comfortably beaten by Ouattara for the opening goal.


Speaking on BT Sport at half-time, Peter Crouch said he “seemed to give up”. That is unacceptable.

Salah penalty sums up RedsMohamed Salah of Liverpool reacts after missing a penalty kick

Mohamed Salah smashed his penalty wide 


Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images)

Liverpool had turned the corner. That was the commonly-held believe after a solid run in the Premier League from Jurgen Klopp’s side.

They had big players returning from injury and a decent period of form behind them. The thrashing by Real Madrid was a freak result, they said. The game at Bournemouth showed just how far off that theory was.

Liverpool have been consistently inconsistent this season – and this was their campaign in a microcosm. Here they followed their best performance of the season – the 7-0 hammering of Manchester United, in case you’d forgotten – with one of their worst.

They were sorely lacking in drive, creativity and defensive solidity. And yet it all could have been different after a stroke of luck handed them a penalty for a handball by Smith. Salah has looked back to his best recently, but stepped up and smashed his effort well wide.

Klopp’s changes make no differenceLiverpool's German manager Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp’s changes didn’t work 


STEVE BARDENS/AFP via Getty Images)

Klopp made a change at the break, bringing on Jota for Harvey Elliott in a substitution that changed the formation. It didn’t work.

Jota threatened once, with Neto pushing his effort wide, but the Portuguese forward did not make the desired impact. Neither did his triple substitution midway through the second half which saw Jordan Henderson, James Milner and Roberto Firmino come on.

Milner did put in the cross which forced the penalty for Liverpool, but there was little else to get excited about. One change appeared particularly baffling, with Darwin Nunez hauled off for Firmino when Salah had done nothing all game.

Fabio Carvalho was summoned late on, but the youngster could not create some magic as Liverpool flopped.

Cherries improvementBournemouth's English manager Gary O'Neil

Gary O’Neil has improved Bournemouth since taking over 


STEVE BARDENS/AFP via Getty Images)

The last time these two sides met, in August, Bournemouth were on the receiving end of a 9-0 thrashing. Scott Parker was sacked a few days later, with the result having huge implications for the Cherries.


Gary O’Neil took over the reins and, although they began this game bottom of the league, they are clearly in a much better place. The team knows what is being asked of them and there is a clear style of play, with the Solanke-Billing partnership a hugely promising one.


The size of this result cannot be overstated. It took them past Southampton, Everton, Leeds and West Ham, from 20th place to 16th place, ahead of the 3pm kick-offs. The result and the nature of the performance are huge boosts for Bournemouth in their fight against the drop.

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