‘We played Bournemouth’s game’: Jürgen Klopp rues Liverpool setback | Liverpool

Jürgen Klopp found himself at a loss to explain how his Liverpool team, having beaten Manchester United 7-0 last Sunday, flopped to a 1-0 defeat to Bournemouth. Mohamed Salah missed Liverpool’s first Premier League penalty of the season in the second half and Klopp’s team could not find an equaliser to Philip Billing’s first-half goal, damaging hopes of a top-four place.

“It was never really our game,” said Klopp. “We were dominant in the first half but mostly we put ball in at the wrong moment against a compact side … the game was played the opposite of the way we wanted. I think we played for 95 minutes the game Bournemouth wanted us to play.”

Salah shanked his penalty wide after Adam Smith had been ruled to have committed a handball in the Bournemouth area by VAR. Klopp refused to blame his top scorer: “The last penalty we got in the league was long ago and it’s completely hypothetical but if we score there, the game could turn. It doesn’t make the performance better but could change the result at least. He scores goals, he scores a lot of goals but he missed the penalty, that’s life.”

Defeat at the Vitality Stadium continued Liverpool’s poor away form; they have won just three of 13 games away from Anfield, losing seven. “In the home games we are in the top four but in the away games we are not even in Europe, there is always a reason and our away results is for sure [the reason],” said Klopp. “It was a big strength for us in the last year, it made a real difference, but that is how it is.”

Following up that historic United bonanza with such a poor display came as a visible disappointment to Liverpool’s manager. “Setbacks are setbacks but we are in the situation we are because of the setbacks, that’s how it is,” he said. “And we are in the situation we are because of the good performances as well. We didn’t have only setbacks but we had too many, that’s clear. Today was a proper one, no doubt about that. Now we have to deal with it and we will deal with it.”

Gary O’Neil, the Bournemouth manager, was meanwhile able to celebrate his club’s second ever victory over Liverpool, vital in their fight against relegation. “I haven’t smiled after games that much recently so that’s been coming,” said O’Neil, whose team threw away a 2-0 lead at Arsenal last week to lose 3-2.

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“Manchester City [a 4-1 defeat] and Arsenal were two performances that the boys should have been proud of and we didn’t take anything from them. But today, fine margins go in our favour and we beat one of the best teams in England.”

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