Premier League • England

Dejected Klopp turns spotlight on Salah and Van Dijk after Liverpool superstars endure Bournemouth nightmares

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp could not contain his dismay when speaking about Mohamed Salah and Virgil van Dijk’s roles in the 1-0 Liverpool defeat to Bournemouth.

Liverpool came crashing back down to earth when following up their 7-0 thumping of Man Utd with a miserable 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth.

With the reverse fixture at Anfield churning out a nine-goal demolition, much was expected of Jurgen Klopp’s resurgent Reds at the Vitality.

However, when Virgil van Dijk saw a headed effort expertly cleared off the line, there was a sense in the air it wasn’t going to be Liverpool’s day.

And so it proved when Philip Billing scored the game’s only goal in the 28th minute when converting a Dango Ouattara cut-back. Virgil van Dijk in particular will know he should’ve done more to halt Outtara’s progress down the right flank in the build-up.

A Liverpool onslaught was expected in the second half, though in truth, it never really came.

The visitors did win a penalty after Diogo Jota’s goal-bound header struck a Bournemouth arm. However, Mohamed Salah uncharacteristically blazed wide from the spot.

The defeat sees Liverpool surrender their momentum in the league and put the ball back in Tottenham and Newcastle’s court in the race for fourth spot.

Liverpool didn’t relish Bournemouth challenge enough – Klopp

Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Klopp said when asked if he was disappointed with the performance: “Absolutely… absolutely.

“What can I say? It was never really our game. We were dominant in the first half but lost too many balls in the wrong moment against a compact side.

“They had the counterattacks that they wanted to have. The spaces where we wanted to play were super clear, super open, we didn’t use them often enough.”

He continued: “We didn’t enjoy the challenge of facing a deep and compact side enough. It’s clear you cannot get through with all the balls but it was always like [bad body language] when it didn’t work out.

“Little things which make a massive difference then we go 1-0 down. Not helpful against a counterattacking team. They did always the same stuff that was successful enough because we didn’t defend it well.

“We started well in the second half, got the penalty, miss it, and from then on we were in a real rush so we didn’t create enough there really. That’s it.”

Klopp dejected at Van Dijk, Salah fails

On whether there was a discussion about the poor defending for Billing’s goal, the German added: “Oh yeah, of course.

“You cannot go through [the Liverpool line] completely, pass the ball, don’t cover the space. I need to watch it back but in the end a ball comes from the outside to the inside and it probably should be defendable as well.”

On Salah’s missed penalty, Klopp said after shaking his head in dismay: “The last penalty we got was… I don’t even remember, it was long ago.

“Yeah… I think it’s completely hypothetical but if you score there the game could turn. It wouldn’t make the performance better but it could change the result at least.

“He scores goals, today he missed a penalty, that’s life.”

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