Salah misses penalty as Bournemouth shocks Liverpool

BOURNEMOUTH (UK): Mohamed Salah missed a penalty as Liverpool returned to earth with a bump in Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at struggling Bournemouth.

Jurgen Klopp’s side traveled to Dean Court in high spirits after last weekend’s historic 7-0 win over arch-rivals Manchester United.

But Liverpool’s hopes of using that remarkable result as a stepping stone to a top-four finish in the Premier League have been subjected to a brutal reality check on the south coast.

Philip Billing punished a paltry Liverpool who gave the struggling hosts an early lead and Salah missed the chance to equalize when he fired wide from a second-half penalty.

Salah became Liverpool’s record goalscorer in the Premier League era when he scored twice against United.

But the Egyptian star’s failure to add to his 130 total condemned Liverpool to a first defeat in their last six league games.

Fifth-placed Liverpool appeared to have used up all of their goals in the United demolition and their toothless performance left them three points behind Tottenham ahead of the north Londoners’ game against Nottingham Forest later on Saturday.

Aside from the damage done to Liverpool’s top-four bid, it wasn’t ideal preparation for Wednesday’s Champions League round of 16 second leg at Real Madrid, where the Reds will need a miracle in the Spanish capital to go 5-2 – make up for the backlog.

Losing to a Bournemouth side who started the day bottom of the table and lost 9-0 at Liverpool in August was the latest outrage in a difficult season for Klopp’s men that saw shock losses to Brighton, Brentford and Wolves.

Bournemouth scored the second fastest goal in Premier League history at Arsenal last weekend but still extended a two-goal lead in a painful last-minute defeat at the hands of the leaders.

This time it was Liverpool who got off to a quick start and Virgil van Dijk’s header shot towards the top corner until Bournemouth midfielder Jefferson Lerma cleared the line.

– Creaking Liverpool –

Bournemouth should have capitalized on that escape moments later when Dominic Solanke’s pass sent Dango Ouattara clean on target.

But when Ouattara rounded Liverpool keeper Alisson Becker his touch took him too far and he was only able to fire into the side netting.

Ouattara again threatened Liverpool with his pace but again failed to put the finishing touches when Van Dijk came back for a final block.

Liverpool’s high defense creaked and Ouattara eventually helped pierce them in the 28th minute.

Ouattara ran down the right flank for a pass, shaking off Van Dijk’s feeble challenge and whipping a low cross that Billing completed from close range when Liverpool’s sluggish defenders failed to respond.

Van Dijk had a chance to redeem his role in Liverpool’s shambolic defense when he climbed onto Robertson’s cross, but the Netherlands centre-back headed wide and was at his mercy.

Klopp responded to Liverpool’s lethargic display by sending on Diogo Jota for Harvey Elliott at half-time.

It was only three minutes before Jota made his presence felt with a curler, which Neto pushed away with a full stretch.

Jota was the catalyst for Liverpool’s 69th minute penalty.

Jota was sorted out by a James Milner cross and rose highest at the far post for a goal-bound header that was blocked by Adam Smith’s outstretched arm.

The penalty was awarded after a VAR check but Salah let Bournemouth off the hook as he fired his shot miserably wide. -AFP Salah misses penalty as Bournemouth shocks Liverpool

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