Paul Tomkins, Andrew Beasley, Daniel Rhodes and other TTT regulars will give their thoughts on the match for 24 hours after the game, so the article received via email is unlikely to be the final version. There's statistics from the match and videos too.
Sometimes in football you're at your worst straight after you're at your best. It can seem too easy at times. The more Liverpool are expected to steamroll a team, the more nervous I get.
Lunchtime kickoffs away at battling sides; playing after a big emotional win, which perhaps lowers everyone's intensity and anger; playing a team you've already thrashed that season by a record score, which does the same and motivates them; playing days before the Champions League - all bother me.
To me, this is setback in an overall uptick in form, but some problems remain. Some are solved, or on the way to being solved. Some can only be solved with time and a couple of transfers.
To play with a midfield of an 18-year-old, a 19-year-old and a guy with two good games all season might work, but it might not. Long-term, two of them are part of the solution; short-term it didn't work as a unit today, and each was below par.
I said after the United game that there would be setbacks, as this team, while improving rapidly in 2023, is still growing and learning. It was a young XI today, and a new XI. Generally that's helped this season, but it didn't today. That said, it still came down to finishing at both ends.
Senior players having upticks after bad seasons reverted to having bad seasons. Bournemouth defended deep and narrow and mopped up every loose ball, sometimes with luck, and then were a threat on the counter. Whatever they did as the game unfolded, whether intentional or not, it made life harder for the Reds, and fair play to them for that. They played it like a cup final, and stopped Liverpool building a wave of pressure.
After dominating early on and missing some chances, the Reds switched off, on a slow, long-grass, midday pitch (you can dribble on it if you kick-and-run, but the passing gets slow), and fell behind sloppily, and were denied by bad luck and bad finishing. About a minute before the goal I'd noted on the site that the performance had fallen away from bright to stodgy.
Plus, even teams like Bournemouth can field two express sprinters as wingers, and put you under pressure out of nothing. They don't need possession – just space to run into. Almost all teams can now get out and break on you, which is a change in recent seasons.
Virgil van Dijk, at fault for the goal by stopping dead, instead of blocking the crossing lane once he'd handed over the winger to Andy Robertson, headed one superbly – that was somehow cleared off the line – but under more game-state pressure (1-0 down at that point, I think), headed a sitter wide, as he's tended to do this season.
Liverpool finally won their first league penalty in 11 months (!), and even then it turns out that the certain goal Diogo Jota was about to score before the raised arm nudged it over the bar would have been better. Salah rarely misses penalties; that one almost missed the stand.
It felt like a weirdly flat performance after the first 20 minutes, and although I added that it doesn't mean anything literally, I'd already noted on the site that it felt like a day where the Reds would never score. (They can still score, even if it feels like they won't.) It felt like Palace away – stodgy, hitting the bar at best.
By the end it was a mess of too many attacking players and no space.
Liverpool had four big chances, and "won" on xG 2-1 compared to 3-1 vs Man United; losing 1-0 instead of winning 7-0. The finishing was the main difference, and then how the game-state affected things. That's always part of football.
The randomness of finishing means you score 16 in just two home games from 20 shots on target (albeit there were plenty of shots off target in those games against Bournemouth and Man United), but lose 5-2 at home to a team who barely had a shot, and two of whose goals were not from goal-bound shots (a deflected shot, and a blocked clearance), and then lose against the bottom team by taking none of your big chances.
That said, the opposition were due to take one of theirs after five league clean sheets in a row, and roughly a dozen such opportunities given up by the Reds. Still, Liverpool had more big chances at Bournemouth than Real Madrid had at Anfield, but sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Maybe today it needed a lucky deflection, albeit even then it would have hit the post.
It's a strange season to have won 9-0, 7-0 and 7-1 away in the Champions League within the same season, and be 'struggling'. The finishing has been more random in that it's been big gluts and droughts.
Famously, title-winning Liverpool lost to Crystal Palace later in the season after beating them 9-0 in 1989/90. A couple of years ago, Liverpool faced West Brom at home after winning 7-0 at Crystal Palace and went 1-0 up, then switched off after 10 minutes and ended up drawing.
The big wins this season had been followed by big-feel games: Newcastle and Man City at home. Lunchtimes away at smaller grounds are not easy, but also, can feel too low-key. A bit of complacency creeps in if it starts to feel too easy, and the opposition then offers some fight.
Clearly consistency has been an issue, but inconsistent lineups due to consistently shifting injuries, new players and inconsistent players (in several cases, understandably from young and new players settling into the pace and demands of the most physically league in the world), make life hard – you can't be a 'machine' when half the parts are new, and the shared knowledge is limited.
I'll address some issues in the second half of the piece as I still see them, but I also think it was a blip in a sequence of good results with the top four still gettable, but one which, like Leicester away last season (which Andrew 'Beez' Beasley said the game reminded him of), the team can't afford many more. Beez makes some good points later in the piece.
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