A ponderous Liverpool were beaten 1-0 away to Bournemouth on Saturday, with Mohamed Salah‘s missed penalty summing up their afternoon.
Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool
Premier League (26), Dean Court
March 11, 2023
Goal: Billing 28′
Alisson (out of 10) – 6
Alisson was his usual reliable self for Liverpool on Saturday – if only that could have applied to a number of his team-mates.
He showed safe hands on a few occasions and his distribution was reliable, too, and could do nothing about Philip Billing’s opener.
Trent Alexander-Arnold – 5
After a run of improved form, this was too often like the lacklustre Trent we saw earlier in the season.
He allowed Billing to fire Bournemouth into the lead after switching off – others were more to blame, in fairness – and he struggled to affect matters in the final third.
Lost the ball cheaply at one point in the first half that should have seen the hosts go ahead.
Ibrahima Konate – 5
Konate has been superb since his return from injury, but this was a curiously sloppy display from him.
He was erratic throughout, committing fouls and losing possession, and he resembled Joel Matip and Joe Gomez this season.
One powerful surge forward was a rare good moment.
Virgil van Dijk – 4
When Van Dijk is like this, he really can be frustrating to watch.
We all know he is a laid-back footballer, but he was guilty of being far too lazy here, being beaten too easily by Alassane Ouattara for Billing’s goal.
He was also denied by Jefferson Lerma on the line and then headed wide with the goal gaping, on a real off day for the No. 4.
Andy Robertson – 6
On his 29th birthday, Robertson was one of Liverpool’s better outfield players.
One driving run and shot early on nearly put the Reds ahead and he provided constant energy, but like so many, he lost his way as the match went on.
Couldn’t link up with Darwin Nunez at all.
Fabinho – 5
Retaining his place in the No. 6 role, Fabinho was a little disappointing against the Cherries, not dominating the midfield battle at all.
On the ball, he kept things safe but more was required, and he still doesn’t look the same physical machine that he once was.
One pass into touch killed some momentum the Reds had built up.
Harvey Elliott – 5
Elliott was superb against Man United last weekend, but his influence here was the polar opposite.
There were some neat touches early on, but he was physically dominated a couple of times and generally struggled to get the better of Bournemouth‘s midfielders.
Subbed at half-time.
Stefan Bajcetic – 5
Bajcetic replaced Jordan Henderson in Liverpool’s only change, but he really struggled along with his fellow midfielders.
The Spaniard simply couldn’t dictate the play and offered nowhere near enough going forward, with the game passing him by.
A reminder that he is only 18 – days like this will happen.
Mohamed Salah – 4
Salah has enjoyed a week full of accolades, having become Liverpool’s all-time leading scorer in the Premier League, but this was a nightmare day for him.
One scuffed effort in the first half was about as good as it got for him before the break, before his missed penalty proved so costly.
It wasn’t even close!
Completely subdued and a totally different player to the one who tore United to shreds.
Darwin Nunez – 5
Nunez is a brilliant but raw footballer and the latter was out in force on Saturday.
There were far too many sloppy fouls and wasteful passes from the Uruguayan, who couldn’t link with Salah and Cody Gakpo in the same manner as last weekend.
Looked angry to be substituted, but far more was needed.
Cody Gakpo – 5
Gakpo once again led the line after a really promising run of form, but like so many, this was disappointing.
He had a goal correctly ruled out for offside and tried to drop deep to influence matters, but the hosts’ defence generally did well against him.
A couple of powerful runs through the middle were promising, but the end product was non-existent.
Diogo Jota (on for Elliott, 46′) – 7
Denied by Neto almost immediately after coming on and won the penalty. Lively.
James Milner (on for Alexander-Arnold’, 65′) – 6
Was dogged in his efforts at right-back and played a key role in the penalty incident.
Jordan Henderson (on for Fabinho, 65′) – 6
Brought some authority, but not enough technical quality on show.
Roberto Firmino (on for Nunez, 65′) – 5
Just couldn’t get into the game.
Fabio Carvalho (on for Bajcetic, 87′) – N/A
No time to make an impact, in what was his first appearance in four months.
Subs not used: Adrian, Matip, Tsimikas, Arthur
Jurgen Klopp – 4
After one of the great Premier League wins last time around, Jurgen Klopp will have been expecting a strong follow-up performance.
Liverpool were so, so poor, however, with the same old shortcomings haunting them as they so often have this season, from slack defending to a lack of intensity.
It is Klopp who has to shoulder the most blame for that and you are left wondering how on earth they could be so sloppy.
This feels like an absolute body blow in the top-four battle.