Liverpool seemed to have shrugged off its poor start to the season, after it ran riot over bitter nemesis Manchester United with the latter’s heaviest competitive defeat (7-0) in more than 90 years at Anfield in the English Premier League. On the other hand, Jürgen Klopp’s side did not manage to emulate its success last time around this week, when it travelled to Vitality Stadium to face A. F. C. Bournemouth on Saturday. The Reds succumbed to an early goal to the home side in this league fixture and could not find an equaliser throughout the game, even though they were awarded a penalty in the second half.
Salah Failed to Hit the Target from the Spot for the First Time
55-year-old Klopp chose to provide full confidence to his squad that humiliated the Red Devils, by making only a single change (Teenage wonderkid Stefan Bajcetic) to the starting line-up, while the home team fielded all but three players who started in the 3-2 loss against league leader Arsenal last week.
Kop almost went ahead inside the opening six minutes, only to have Virgil van Dijk’s header cleared away by Jefferson Lerma. Neto then came to Bournemouth’s rescue seven minutes later, when Andrew Robertson’s shot was saved by the 33-year-old Brazilian. Liverpool came back with another effort shortly, with Harvey Elliot’s cross headed by Darwin Núñez to Cody Gakpo, who then put it into the back of the net. The Reds’ moment of triumphant was short-lived, as the Dutchman was offside.
It was the home side which drew first blood in the 28th minute, after Liverpool defenders were caught out of position, allowing Dango Ouattara to break free. The Burkina Faso international took his time to control the ball with his feet, before beating van Dijk and Robertson to fire a cross into the central area of the penalty box. Danish midfielder Philip Billing was the quickest to react to Ouattara’s delivery and slotted home the only goal of the game. The visitors had a huge chance to level things up, when they were given a penalty in the 69th minute, but their top scorer of the season Mohamed Salah failed to hit the target from the spot for the first time in his Premier League career. The Egypt captain’s miss meant Liverpool’s three game unbeaten run in all competition had been halted by Bournemouth, which escaped the relegation zone with this all-important victory.
For the first time ever, Mo Salah failed to hit the target with a penalty in the Premier League.
— B/R Football (@brfootball) March 11, 2023
Alexander-Arnold: “They Probably Wanted It More Than Us.”
Liverpool’s right-back was among the first to voice out his dissatisfaction with the team’s performance. The England international stated that “This is the time of the season when everyone knows what they are fighting for and obviously Bournemouth are in a relegation battle, so they are fighting for survival. But every team in the league is fighting for something, so it means a lot to get the three points and I think looking back on it now, they probably wanted it more than us. That is something that is unacceptable and we need to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again”.
Liverpool will be heading to Santiago Bernabéu to face Real Madrid for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 next, with hopes of overturning the 5-2 deficit it suffered during the first game of this fixture. When spoke about the clash, the 24-year-old Alexander-Arnold admitted that his side will need to do “Something special” to emerge victorious this coming Wednesday evening. His response went “All our focus is solely on that Real Madrid game now and it means that we can put everything into that game knowing that we’ve got days afterwards to recover. It’s about throwing the kitchen sink at it and going all out and I think that’s what we’re going to do – it’s important to do that. Then we’ll get ready for an important run-in”.
Jürgen Klopp’s Liverpool will be going into the game as the least favourite as compared to Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid, since the 19-time English champion had lost to Los Blancos six out of their previous seven meetings in the UEFA Champions League.