Liverpool’s hopes of entering the top four were dealt a blow following their 1-0 loss to Bournemouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday, March 11. A first-half goal from Philip Billing proved decisive in a tight contest.Jurgen Klopp’s side started the game on a high note and nearly scored through Virgil van Dijk. The defender’s header following an exquisite corner from Trent Alexander-Arnold seemed destined to open the scoring, but Jefferson Lerma’s brilliant goal-line clearance denied the visitors an early goal.
The hosts took the lead in the 28th minute after Dango Ouattara went past the Reds’ backline and fed Philip Billing, who tapped the ball in from close range.
Liverpool were then presented with a golden opportunity to level proceedings just past the hour-mark. Bournemouth’s Adam Smith was adjudged to have handled the ball inside the penalty box after Diogo Jota’s header struck his trailing hand in the 67th minute. However, Mohamed Salah missed the target from the spot-kick, sending the home crowd into raptures.
The hosts defended well until the end of the game to protect their slender lead and secure the crucial three points that moved them out of the relegation zone.
Let’s take a look at how the Liverpool players fared against Bournemouth.
Liverpool player ratings
Alisson Becker – 6/10: Alisson Becker barely had anything to do apart from the goal he conceded. The Brazilian had no chance to save Philip Billing’s point-blank effort.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5/10: Trent Alexander-Arnold’s afternoon didn’t go as planned as the right-back struggled to keep up with the opponent forwards. Liverpool’s #66 should also be partially blamed for the goal.
Ibrahima Konate – 4/10: The French centre-back was all over the place from the first minute until the game ended. Konate was not only at fault for the opening goal, but was also sluggish with his passing and positional sense.
Virgil van Dijk – 4/10: Virgil van Dijk passed up two glorious opportunities to score for Liverpool. He was also not aggressive enough in his effort to stop Ouattara from playing a dangerous pass into the penalty box that led to Bournemouth’s winner.
Andy Robertson – 6/10: Andy Robertson’s weak positional play was exploited by Ouattara throughout the game. The Scotland international created a couple of opportunities at the other end, but none of them ended up in the back of the net.
Fabinho – 6/10: Fabinho did not significantly affect the game but was not at his top either. Ironically, he was Liverpool’s best midfielder although he looked off the pace.
Stefan Bajcetic – 5.5/10: Stefan Bajcetic was not time and space as the hosts closed him down effectively to win back possession. The Spaniard played 88 minutes before being subbed for Fabio Carvalho.
Harvey Elliott – 5/10: Harvey Elliott struggled to bring his A-game and failed to win the midfield battle against Jefferson Lerma and Philip Billing. He was eventually taken off after the first half.
Mohamed Salah – 4/10: Mohamed Salah was anonymous throughout the game. He was nullified by Lloyd Kelly, who didn’t give an inch to exploit behind the Cherries backline. The Egyptian also blasted a penalty wide in the second half.
Darwin Nunez – 5/10: Darwin Nunez failed to create problems for Bournemouth’s backline and did not create chances for the Reds. He was replaced by Firmino at the stroke of an hour.
Cody Gakpo – 6/10: Cody Gakpo made several runs behind the Bournemouth midfield, but was unable to trouble the hosts’ defense. He carried the ball but was not inventive in the final third.
Diogo Jota – 7/10: Diogo Jota injected some much-needed energy into the Liverpool attack in the second half and made an impact by nearly scoring a solo goal and winning a penalty as well.
Jordan Henderson – 5/10: Jordan Henderson took too many touches and helped Bournemouth form a low-block defense comfortably.
Roberto Firmino – 5/10: The Brazilian was unable to bring the X-factor into the game and failed to create any chances.
James Milner – 6/10: James Milner had a better game than Trent Alexander-Arnold and nearly got Liverpool back into the game by picking Jota at the far post that won the penalty for the Reds.
Fabio Carvalho – N/A: He came on later on in the game and failed to create any impact.