Monday 24 July 2017

Liverpool's many goalkeeping errors sweetens the Cherries' victory pie

Bournemouth 4 Liverpool 3

Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is down and out as Callum Wilson celebrates after Steve Cook’s goal for Bournemouth. Photo: Getty
Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius is down and out as Callum Wilson celebrates after Steve Cook’s goal for Bournemouth. Photo: Getty

Jason Burt

As delirious Bournemouth supporters filed out of Dean Court yesterday, many paused to take a photograph simply of the scoreboard. Cherries 4 Liverpool 3.

It was a result they will never forget not simply because it was the first time in their history that they had beaten Liverpool but because, with 15 minutes remaining, that same scoreboard had looked so very different. Cherries 1 Liverpool 3.

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake battle for the ball. Photo: PA
Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and Bournemouth’s Nathan Ake battle for the ball. Photo: PA

Liverpool had also been 2-0 ahead after 22 minutes but, in a collapse reminiscent of how they let slip a 3-0 lead in just nine calamitous minutes against Crystal Palace in 2014, they somehow left Dorset without even a point.

It means that they slipped over the weekend to third in the Premier League table but, even in the absence here from the starting team of both Philippe Coutinho and Adam Lallana, there was little lacking creatively.

The problem for manager Jürgen Klopp was simply in Liverpool's defending - especially the unconvincing goalkeeping of Loris Karius - who gifted Bournemouth their dramatic winner when his fumble from Steve Cook's shot allowed Chelsea loanee Nathan Ake to gratefully follow in.

It was an extraordinary finale to one of the games of the season and, having reached the tally this week of 300 matches as Bournemouth manager, also propelled Eddie Howe's team into the top half of the table.

Nathan Ake celebrates scoring Bournemouth's fourth goal. Photo: Reuters
Nathan Ake celebrates scoring Bournemouth's fourth goal. Photo: Reuters

Where all this ranks in the growing catalogue of famous Howe wins is open to debate but, after their survival in the Football League, three promotions and victories last season against both Manchester United and Chelsea, this might just be the pinnacle.

It was not just beating Liverpool that would have meant so much to Howe - who just happens to be an Everton fan - but the manner of how his team recovered through still playing such open and attacking football.

In the week that Gareth Southgate was appointed England manager, it certainly again also raises questions of a Football Association process that seems to have overlooked many of the English high achievers in club football.

Howe is regarded very much as an English manager of the future by the FA but, if this progress continues, it is surely only a matter of time before one of the very elite clubs also test his bond with Bournemouth.

Bournemouth's Steve Cook celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates. Photo: Reuters
Bournemouth's Steve Cook celebrates scoring their third goal with teammates. Photo: Reuters

In the absence of Coutinho, Divock Origi was given a first Premier League start as the main striker and, with Liverpool very quickly taking control of possession, Nathaniel Clyne's cross provided an immediate chance that was wasted. Emre Can's lofted ball caused further problems in the Bournemouth defence and, when Ake hesitated, Sadio Mané got between him and goalkeeper Artur Boruc to deftly divert the ball into the goal.

It was soon 2-0. Mane was again involved by dispossessing Harry Arter deep inside the Bournemouth half before passing to Jordan Henderson, whose ball down the right channel was chased by Origi.

Boruc had made a horrible misjudgment in sprinting from his goal in an attempt to clear, with Origi knocking it past him before finishing superbly from an acute angle.

Howe responded at half-time by bringing on record signing Jordon Ibe but the match only really changed with the enforced introduction on 55 minutes of Ryan Fraser following an ankle injury to Junior Stanislas.

Fraser showed an immediate willingness to run fearlessly at the Liverpool defence and, after combining with Callum Wilson, got himself across James Milner before going down under the Liverpool full-back's challenge.

Referee Bobby Madley had earlier turned down one plausible penalty appeal from Ake but had no hesitation this time in pointing to the spot.

Wilson finished confidently but it seemed that the comeback was over when Mané produced a wonderful moment of skill before crossing for Can to shoot past Boruc into the top corner.

Liverpool were then also within inches of going 4-1 ahead when Milner's inswinging corner was caught by Boruc as he back-pedalled and almost carried the ball into his own goal.

Fraser, though, had become a huge threat and, after combining with Wilson, an attempted clearance bounced into his path.

He calmly took a touch to bring the ball under control before placing his finish past Karius. The momentum had swung. Fraser then crossed to centre-back Cook, who, with all the skill of a striker, took a touch to bring the ball under control before turning to smash his finish into the bottom corner of the goal.

Klopp was visibly furious - and had the added frustration of losing Mané to what looked like a groin injury - but could do little to help his team rediscover their composure.

Benik Afobe broke clear on goal but his attempted finish was glanced narrowly wide off Karius's thigh.

There were also chances for both Origi and Lallana for Liverpool but, when five minutes went up on the fourth official's board, the roar from the Bournemouth crowd underlined where all the belief now rested. From another Bournemouth attack, the ball bounced to Cook on the edge of the penalty area.

His shot was spilled by Karius, with Ake following up to bundle the ball in and send Bournemouth into ecstasy.

"I'm not angry," said Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp. "I was angry during the game a few times, but I saw that my boys didn't want to do the wrong thing, but they did and lost the momentum in the game, and it's not simple to come back.

"That's why you have to keep momentum all the time you can. I cannot change it. So why should I be angry?"

Klopp continued: "The guys just weren't clear enough in the game. We couldn't influence the referee's decision on the penalty. We could have seen a few situations differently, a player could have been sent off for a second yellow card for holding [Roberto] Firmino - but we have to accept that happens."

It was Bournemouth's first victory over Liverpool and manager Eddie Howe beamed: "I don't think I'll ever forget this one.''

(© Daily Telegraph, London.)

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