Liverpool let the opportunity to go second in the league slip with an awful defensive display against Bournemouth on Sunday afternoon.
As a Liverpool fan, you would’ve been forgiven for thinking that, at 3-1 after 65 minutes, the three points weren’t in danger. Three goals later, however, and Jurgen Klopp could be seen exasperated on the touchline as his side conceded late on to lose all three points.
Without showing disrespect to Bournemouth, they were miles off the pace for much of the game but then when Ryan Fraser was subbed on after 55 minutes, the whole game swung and the increased intensity within the stadium meant that Liverpool were the ones battling under heavy pressure.
It’s difficult to point a finger at one player and name a scapegoat because there weren’t any players that rose to the fore and lead Liverpool to safety. While Emre Can scored a fantastic goal to make it 3-1, he didn’t show the quality required of a central midfielder when his side came under the cosh. Jordan Henderson was unable to replicate the influence he has had on the team in recent weeks and Liverpool’s front line looked beleaguered after Sadio Mane limped off the pitch.
The question many have been asking about Liverpool’s title challenge has been, “will their inability to defend well cost them valuable points come May?” The answer is a resounding yes. In Liverpool’s last three Premier League games, only one game has resulted in victory and it seems as though Klopp needs to inject into his side the passion and intensity which saw them climb the table after losing 2-0 to Burnley in the second game of the season.
Liverpool play Manchester City on New Year’s Eve and the game has been billed as an early title decider and while I believe it’s far too early to have one game decide things, Liverpool will need to pull up their socks if they are to be in the picture in four weeks.
While it’s certainly not the time to discount Liverpool, there are certainly questions to be answered and a decent defence is needed if there is to be any chance of a legitimate title chance. With 24 games of the season still to be played, there is plenty of room for error and Klopp will be sure to keep them to a minimum.
Final score: Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool