Liverpool’s chances of finishing in the top four once again took a blow as they lost to relegation-threatened Bournemouth.
A sobering defeat to the Cherries brought Liverpool back down to earth after thrashing Man United last weekend.
The Reds had hoped to kick on with renewed confidence after making their rivals look silly, but they came unstuck at the Vitality Stadium, putting up a poor display that saw them create very few real chances.
The defeat is a reminder that this Liverpool team needs a proper reboot in the summer.
Here’s how the media reacted to Liverpool’s loss.
Reporters have seen these false dawns before…
In the Guardian, John Brewin spoke of how Liverpool haven’t been able to follow up their good performances this season:
“Here was another shapeless performance in which heavy metal thunder was too easy to quieten. There were also portents from history to consider.
“Last time Liverpool won 7-0 in the Premier League, in December 2020, they drew 1-1 with West Brom in the following game.
“As this season threatens to be, a heroic comeback on Wednesday in Madrid pending, targets for that campaign were soon reduced to finishing in the top four.”
Mark Mann-Bryans of the Independent, added:
“That win proved something of a false dawn for Klopp’s side and they will now be hoping this loss is a setback rather than the end of a good run of form as their inconsistent campaign took another turn.”
Liverpool were poor on the road…again
Liverpool have only won three league away games all season, a turgid return that the Telegraph‘s Tom Prentki did not overlook:
“This defeat at Bournemouth mean’s Klopp’s side have taken just 12 points from 13 away league games this season – the same number as Southampton and Leicester – so for all the short-term schadenfreude, for all the confidence they could overhaul an ailing Tottenham side to finish fourth place, this was a stark wake-up call.”
Merseyside reporters echoed the away day woes for Klopp’s men:
FT: Bournemouth 1 #LFC 0: Massive blow to Liverpool's top four hopes. Recent resurgence ended on the south coast. Got exactly what they deserved. Salah missing a penalty after Billing had fired the home side ahead. Another miserable away performance for the collection.
— James Pearce (@JamesPearceLFC) March 11, 2023
Full time: Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool.
Another abject day on the road for the Reds. Massive opportunity to go fourth – if only temporarily – gone.
— Paul Gorst (@ptgorst) March 11, 2023
Bournemouth will do well not to win this now. #LFC clearly don't want to, put it that way. Another shocker of an away day
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) March 11, 2023
Van Dijk was not at the races…
Virgil Van Dijk wasn’t at his best and Felix Keith wrote in the Mirror:
“Liverpool’s towering centre-back had a strange first half on the south coast. He should have scored two goals at one end but was frequently all at sea at the other.
“Van Dijk could easily have had the visitors ahead after five minutes, but Jefferson Lerma did well to head his effort off the line from a corner. Van Dijk could easily have had them going in level at half-time, too, but he inexplicably headed Robertson’s deep free-kick wide at the back post.
“At the other end, he was all over the place. Bournemouth‘s threat in behind left him unsure whether to step up or drop deep. Frequently he made the wrong decision. More worryingly for Liverpool fans, he was comfortably beaten by Ouattara for the opening goal.”
This Is Anfield‘s Mark Delgado, similarly, put the microscope on Van Dijk’s performance:
“The big centre-back has previously alluded to underperforming due to overplaying, but he’s had a week to prepare for this fixture and had a dreadful first half.
“He was beaten in the air, easily run past more than once, missed an absolute sitter at the other end and for the goal, after giving up chasing the winger who beat him, simply stopped: not covering a pass, not directing his teammates, not getting back into a central position.
“It was awful in every regard.”
And GOAL‘s Neil Jones classed Van Dijk as one of ‘losers’ of the day in his winners and losers column:
“A dominant performance this most definitely was not.
“Liverpool’s recent revival may have been built on some vastly-improved defending, with five Premier League clean sheets in a row and six in their last seven prior to kick off, but they were a mile off it here, and nowhere was that more evident than in Van Dijk’s display.
“The Dutchman was not solely responsible for Bournemouth‘s opener, but he was certainly culpable, reacting slowly to the danger as Ouattara escaped too easily to set up Billing. It was emblematic of the 31-year-old’s struggles, as he found it hard to get a grip of Dominic Solanke, the former Reds striker.”
Last week’s result now rendered “irrelevant…”
It may have been a joyous win but it matters little now in the context of the season, as Delgado assessed:
“Despite a decent start and almost the exact same line-up, the first half ended up being uninspiring, sluggish, lacking concentration and not full of enough fight.
“The second 45 should have been faster, more aggressive, more insistent, more everything. It wasn’t. The last ten or 15 were hardly an onslaught, either.
“In a league, and in a team, in which consistency is absolutely everything, this was an appalling performance which largely renders the result – if not the historical context – of last weekend’s game completely irrelevant.”