Liverpool were held to a 2-2 draw at Anfield against Bournemouth on Wednesday night
Jurgen Klopp’s side shot themselves in the foot in the race for the top 4 with some crucial mistakes and poor defending. Benik Afobe was gifted an opening goal after Georginio Wijnaldum’s terrible back-pass let the former Arsenal forward through.
Philippe Coutinho then equalised with a fine finish, before Divock Origi gave Liverpool the lead for the first time in the match with a smart run and header. Some terrible defending gifted Joshua King a golden opportunity to equalise late on and the Bournemouth star duly obliged.
The result meant that Liverpool missed a chance to extend their lead over Manchester City, who lost to Chelsea, but have played one game less than the Reds. It also means that Klopp’s side are now just 6 points ahead of both Arsenal and Manchester United, who both have 2 games in hand. We take a look at the key talking points from the match.
Georginio Wijnaldum made an uncharacteristically bewildering error to gift Bournemouth the lead and one had only to look at the Dutchman’s reaction to see how devastated he was when he realised what he had done.
Wijnaldum has been brilliant for Liverpool this season and despite not claiming all the glory like his flashier teammates, the midfielder has been a key part of Liverpool’s success this season and has endeared himself to Reds fans.
The Dutchman’s error was a one-off and Liverpool fans got behind their man. He paid back their faith with some fine work on the left-hand side of Bournemouth’s penalty area, ending with a pin-point cross that gifted Origi a simple header for Liverpool to take the lead. Despite his error, Wijnaldum was once again one of their better performers.
Lovely finish from Origi, but Georginio Wijnaldum, take a bow. pic.twitter.com/bNZ3FUHNAK
— Mootaz (@Mootaz_LFC) April 5, 2017
Is Philippe Coutinho truly back?
Philippe Coutinho was nothing short of brilliant against Everton and he looked like he was putting in a similar shift against Bournemouth. The Brazilian equalised for the Reds with some great work in the area.
Latching on to Firmino’s pass, Coutinho still had a lot to do as the ball was slightly behind him and not exactly placed perfectly for a shot. The midfield wizard sorted out his feet brilliantly before slotting home to equalise the scores and it looked like we were on our way to witnessing another masterclass from the Liverpool player.
— ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐TraLaLaLaLa (@MartyMcFlyLFC) April 5, 2017
However, he was taken off in the second half somewhat surprisingly, but it later emerged that he had been ill at half-time and was forced off because of that illness. It seemed like Coutinho was back with a bang, but Klopp will be hoping that his latest interruption passes quickly.
Liverpool’s defensive issues continue
Liverpool’s defensive problems reared their head once more last night. There was not much the defence could do about Georginio Wijnaldum’s error but for the second goal, the defending was simply not good enough.
Jurgen Klopp admitted after the game that the defending made him want to “vomit” and it is easy to see why. The Reds had already got an early warning from Bournemouth in a set-piece when Marc Pugh volleyed agonisingly wide of Mignolet’s goal and one would think Klopp’s side would have learnt from that chance.
Klopp’s anger is justified, then, as Liverpool’s defending for Bournemouth’s equaliser was arguably worse. They first allowed the long throw to be easily contested in the area before failing to clear their lines.
Despite the fact that Joshua King was surrounded by red shirts, the Bournemouth midfielder still managed to get his shot off. It was yet another example of their poor defensive organisation and this could cost them dearly if they don’t sort it out soon.
Liverpool have conceded more goals (39) than Middlesbrough (37) this season.
Middlesbrough are 19th.
— Kevin Blundell (@kevin_blundell) April 5, 2017
Top 4 at risk
Liverpool’s top 4 hopes are now at serious risk. Having beaten Arsenal and then come through the test against Everton, Klopp’s side looked well placed to do what they have threatened to all season and cement their place in the top 4.
However, performances like this have got to be improved upon and interestingly, Liverpool do not play a member of the top 7 again this season. They have been brilliant in big games, but have been diabolical against the smaller teams. If they aren’t careful, they could soon be overtaken by any of the 3 teams below them.
Its a recurring theme with this Liverpool team. No lessons are being learnt & its no wonder fans are cynical about even getting Top 4.
— Spion Kop (@TheKopHQ) April 5, 2017
Injuries piling up
Sadio Mane might miss the rest of the season, Adam Lallana is still a few weeks away from playing and Jordan Henderson is also a doubt for Liverpool’s match against Stoke. If Klopp’s comments after the game are anything to go by, Philippe Coutinho could be an absentee too.
The number of injuries that have hit at the same time is somewhat unfortunate for Liverpool, and Jurgen Klopp will be hoping other key players like Joel Matip and Roberto Firmino do not suffer similar injuries or Liverpool will firmly be in the midst of a crisis.