Liverpool’s 2023 began with a 7-0 demolition of Manchester United, followed by a defeat against Bournemouth to start at the bottom of the Premier League. Philip Billing’s first-half goal gave Bournemouth hope in their survival bid, lifting them – for now – to 16th in the table.
Here was another shapeless performance in which heavy metal thunder was too easy to quieten. There were also historical signs to consider. After winning 7-0 against Crystal Palace in December 2020, Liverpool drew 1-1 with West Brom the following week. The chances of a comeback in Madrid this season have quickly been reduced to finishing in the top four.
Speaking to BT Klopp in his post-match interview, Klopp said, “What can I say?” The game was never really ours. Against a compact team, we played balls at the wrong time. Although we had very open playing spaces, we did not fully use them. We didn’t enjoy the challenge of facing a deep and compact side. Our defence was poor. After missing the penalty, we were in a hurry. It wasn’t enough that we created. It is entirely hypothetical, but the game could turn on its head if we were to score a penalty. The game could turn.
“Salah scores a lot of goals, but he misses a penalty, that’s life. It was clear from the moment we came here that Bournemouth would fight to remain in the league.”