Liverpool dealt huge blow in 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth amid Salah’s penalty miss as top four race continues
Mohamed Salah missed a penalty as Liverpool crashed back to earth in a 1-0 loss to struggling Bournemouth on Saturday.
Jurgen Klopp’s team arrived at Dean Court in high spirits following their historic 7-0 thrashing of archrivals Manchester United the previous weekend.
However, Liverpool’s hopes of using that incredible result as a springboard to push for a top-four finish in the Premier League were dashed on the south coast.
Philip Billing took advantage of poor Liverpool defending to put the struggling hosts ahead early on, and Salah blew a second-half penalty-kick chance to equalise.
Salah set a new Premier League record by scoring twice against Manchester United.
However, the Egyptian’s failure to add to his tally of 130 goals condemned Liverpool to their first league defeat in six games.
Fifth-placed Liverpool appeared to have used up all of their goals in the United thrashing, and their toothless performance dropped them three points behind Tottenham.
Bournemouth manager Gary O’Neil praised his team’s character after they resurrected their survival hopes with the perfect response to the devastation they suffered at Arsenal.
Bournemouth hadn’t won at home since a 3-0 victory over Everton on November 12, but Phillip Billing’s first-half goal was enough to see off Liverpool.
It was a tremendous effort from the home team, who had led 2-0 at The Emirates Stadium the previous weekend but lost 3-2 in the 97th minute.
‘We deserved it,’ O’Neil said. I’m just happy for the boys. This was no fluke performance. The last three games have seen very good performances against top competition. Fine margins can no longer always work against you.
‘A clean sheet against one of the best teams in England, who came into the game having scored seven goals, demonstrated the effort we put in. ‘We just have to keep going,’ I told the boys after we beat Wolves.
‘We got a bit lucky with the (Mo Salah) penalty miss,’ said O’Neil, who previously worked on the coaching staff at the Liverpool Academy. I haven’t seen it returned, so I’m not sure whether it was or wasn’t, but after all that has gone against us, we deserved something.
‘After suffering the late goal at Arsenal, I was repeatedly asked if the boys would have a hangover from it, and there’s your answer. We were down at the time, and I reminded them of the hard work they had put in, and how unlucky they had been for it to go against them.”
Bournemouth midfielder David Brooks made his first appearance since September 2021 after recovering from cancer. Throughout, his name was sung.
‘I was absolutely delighted for him,’ said O’Neil. We still need to be realistic about what he can do right now. I was desperate to get him on, but the game did not go as planned. He was overjoyed when he found out yesterday, and the boys were overjoyed as well.’
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