Jurgen Klopp admitted defeat at struggling Bournemouth was a “big knock” for Liverpool and pointed to poor away form as the reason behind their inconsistent Premier League campaign.
The Reds were brought back down to earth as Philip Billing scored the only goal of the game to give the Cherries a 1-0 win, six days on from Liverpool’s 7-0 thrashing of fierce rivals Manchester United.
Mohamed Salah shanked a second-half penalty wide to sum up a poor display on a wet and windy south-coast afternoon, with Liverpool missing out on a chance to break into the top four ahead of the second leg of their Champions League tie with Real Madrid.
“This game was a massive knock. You know how it is with knocks, you have to take them and see how big the scars are and go from there.”
Only Arsenal and Manchester City, the league’s top two sides, have a better home record than Liverpool – but they have won just three of their 13 games away from Anfield, losing seven.
“Concerned? Yes, I see it,” Klopp said on his side’s performances on the road.
“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).
“It was a big strength for us in the last year, it made a real difference, but that is how it is.
“We get a penalty, miss the penalty and it looked a little bit for me that if we score there it would give us a proper boost but we didn’t and then you could see we were in a bit of a rush, we didn’t create enough. We lost the game and it is very, very, very frustrating.”
Bournemouth had been two goals up at league leaders Arsenal last week only to succumb to a stoppage-time defeat but their response here was admirable.
Billing turned in a cross from the lively Dango Ouattara to put the hosts ahead just before the half-hour and they staunchly defended their advantage.
“We thoroughly deserved it and I’m really pleased for the boys,” said head coach Gary O’Neil.
“Performances in the past three games against top opposition have been very good. The stuff that has gone against us recently, we were due for something to go our way, definitely.
“To concede the late goal at Arsenal and show what they are made of, I was asked if they would have any hangovers from what happened at Arsenal, that (performance) was your answer.”
O’Neil’s side were no doubt buoyed by the return of David Brooks to a matchday squad for the first time in 525 days, the Wales midfielder having been diagnosed with stage two Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2021.
“I felt privileged to be able to sit and tell him yesterday,” added O’Neil.
“For him and his family and the journey he has been on and been through, I was absolutely delighted for him.
“We still need to be realistic with how much he can do at the moment, I was desperate to try and get him on at some point but the game didn’t really go that way.”