‘Three points lost. No more.’ were Jürgen Klopp’s words after he had watched his side succumb to a spectacular Bournemouth comeback.
Eddie Howe and his players deserve all the credit they get for such an aggressive second-half approach, especially for refusing to settle for a 3-3 draw. It was a remarkable recovery by the hosts as much as it was a monumental Liverpool collapse.
If it wasn’t for the flood of mindless social media posts from fans criticising those sporting the fluorescent kits then perhaps this article would have been dedicated to reflecting on a disappointing day for the Reds.
As it stands, though, moving forward is what the focus must be. The old cliché ‘onto the next one’ couldn’t be more appropriate.
Reds must respond to setback over next few games
Sunday was an untimely yet crucial wake up call and learning curve for this group of players. A 4-3 score-line is testament to what a special and unpredictable division the Premier League truly is.
Liverpool were never going to win every game this season and yesterday represents just a blip in what has been a more than impressive beginning to the campaign.
The champions aren’t decided in December, as the Liverpool boss reminded everyone. Wouldn’t it be boring if they were?
Klopp and his undeniably talented group sit pretty in third place. There are undoubtedly plenty who, prior to this season, would have admitted to being satisfied with Liverpool’s position at this stage.
The backlash to yesterday’s defeat has been outrageous. A display of delusion and ungratefulness from those fans who have foolishly attacked their supposedly beloved team from behind the safety barrier Twitter offers.
Thankfully, such panic isn’t necessary. It’s hard to believe Sunday’s loss was only Liverpool’s second of the season judging by the reaction from some.
‘Anomaly’ is the word that best describes Liverpool’s second half performance. They looked a completely different outfit to not only the dominant side that had dictated the game before the interval but also the explosive force that has seen them control proceedings in recent weeks.
Rarely has a team pressed and played with such a confident attacking approach against Liverpool this season in the way that Bournemouth did after the restart.
Klopp’s impetus towards constant improvement and his team striving to address key details, was fully justified by what happened at the Vitality Stadium. The German said it himself, he knew something like this was coming.
Melwood promises to play stage to a grueling effort from the manager and players over the next few weeks as they look to identify and overcome what went wrong. Something to learn from after such a bright start is perhaps what is needed.
Playing at such a high level for the past two months was bound to create high expectations surrounding what this team is capable of. The acceptable reactions to Liverpool’s unbeaten run ending come in the form of those ruing the fact that their team can offer so much more.
Positive things can be taken away despite defeat
Suggesting there were no positives from yesterday, as many have done, is laughable.
Liverpool ran the game in the first 45 minutes and entered the break fully deserved of their 2-0 lead.
Divock Origi’s fine scoring form continued with the Belgian striker’s outstanding finish marking his third goal in as many games.
The 21-year-old has slotted back in both quickly and comfortably as the central figure in Klopp’s attacking trio. Though he isn’t as eye-catching as Philippe Coutinho, he has admirably gone some way towards trying to implement the interchanging of positions that saw the Brazilian enjoy such as sparkling run of games.
At a time when his club needs him to step up and make his mark, he has responded. He did, albeit, fade as an attacking threat towards the end of the game but only as a result of Bournemouth’s persistence.
Another stunning finish came from the ever-improving Emre Can which poses as another positive. The German made it 3-1 to restore Liverpool’s lead with a strike just about as slick as that ever-impressive hairstyle of his.
Perhaps more importantly, he once again played a part in troubling the opposition defence. Feeding Sadio Mane from a deeper position for the opening goal and the advanced position he scored from himself recognised his development as a box-to-box midfielder.
Besides Can, Mane himself was able to put a couple of quiet games behind him by getting himself back on the scoresheet while Roberto Firmino featured again and Adam Lallana returned to action after his injury layoff. Positives.
Karius needs to be given time to come good
Loris Karius of course has to be mentioned. He is clearly nervous and fans continuing to fret over his mistakes is only going to prolong his inability to settle down. Give him a break.
Where was the criticism for James Milner’s rash challenge that gave away the penalty? Where was the criticism for several of our players failing to close down the Steve Cook shot that led to Nathan Ake’s winning goal?
It seems everyone is forgetting just how long it took David De Gea to find his feet in England. Karius deserves the same respect that the Spaniard was given. He has the perfect manager to help him overcome these errors and he needs to be given the opportunity to respond.
He, like every Liverpool player, will learn from their experiences at the weekend. Once again, the Reds march onto the next one.