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What Went Wrong For Liverpool Against Bournemouth?

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Liverpool’s loss to Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon is the 2nd time in 14 league games of 2016-17 that the Reds have seen defeat.

The 1st came as early as matchday 2 against Burnley at Turf Moor. In that game, the hosts were 2nd best in almost every aspect, except the most important one – goalscoring.

At the Vitality Stadium, Liverpool were the best team, at least until the 78th minute. Until that minute when Cook scored the equaliser that fueled Bournemouth’s winning comeback, Liverpool had led by 2 goals twice.

Mane and Origi had put the Reds ahead with a goal apiece heading into break, and the team’s display was just champion-like as it has been for a larger period of the season.

Not even Coutinho’s absence or Firmino’s off-day performances seemed to have any negative impact on how the attack performed. At the back, Lucas and Lovren had put in a fine display to make light work of Matip’s absence to an ankle injury.

Even when Milner conceded Liverpool’s first ever penalty to allow Wilson peg them back, Klopp’s men showed character, and it was Mane who pulled the string again, evading challenges until he got into the Cherries’ box to lay a fine pass into Can’s path.

At 3 – 1 and less than half an hour to go, it was looking like a sure 3-pointer for the visitors. But they fell apart right in the end. And not only should the midfield and shaky backline share the blame for such capitulation, Klopp has to own up for his mistake in benching Klavan and fielding Leiva instead.

Emre Can scored Liverpool's third with a curling effort

The Estonian skipper was brought in during summer to come and add a much-needed vigour to Liverpool’s defence. And though he found a spot in the central defence hard to come by, his quality meant the Merseysiders had nothing to worry about in cases of injuries and suspensions, as a capable option can be called upon from the bench.

Instead, Klopp went for a defensive midfielder who was responsible for the only goal they conceded in the thrashing of Liverpool earlier on in the season. Pairing him with a Lovren whose inconsistency continues to overshadow his quality was definitely a huge mistake.

The Croatian needlessly allowed the hosts into Liverpool’s box after failing to clear the line, and Leiva was nowhere to be found, with Milner’s attempt to stop Fraser only leading to a penalty.

A particular weakness of Liverpool’s is being caught out on counter attacks. And while protecting a 2-goal lead should have been the more tactically wise thing to do, the players all went out for more goals, with as much as 8 Liverpool’s players in the visitors’ half.

Liverpool's defence have protected Karius for the most part this season, he failed to return the favour on Sunday

Karius should take responsibility for that goal, but not solely. His defenders allowed Fraser strike from the edge of the box, while Henderson and Can didn’t do enough to protect the defence. However, Bournemouth’s winning goal was clearly his fault alone, as he should have dealt well with Cook’s shot, not spill it.

The equalising goal actually saw the Reds defenders allow Cook control a cross from the right flank, turn around and slot it beyond Karius’ reach at the right far post within a second.

From midfield to defence, the final 15 minutes of the game saw both departments fall apart in their defensive duties. For all of Henderson’s and Can’s hardwork this season, and even in the game with the latter making more successful tackles (4) than any other player, losing 3 points and a point within 25 minutes is the worst thing to have happened to Liverpool this term.

And if such defensive frailties aren’t attended to, more points will be lost, and they can as well forget about a title this season. Scoring 35 goals in 14 games is superb, but conceding 18 – more than the number of goals bottom-table Middlesbrough have shipped is as woeful as it can get.