Bournemouth 1-0 Liverpool: Billing gives Cherries vital win as Salah suffers penalty woe

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Bournemouth were able to get the job done this time as they held on for a crucial 1-0 win over Liverpool at Vitality Stadium.

A week after Bournemouth had thrown away a two-goal lead at Arsenal, Philip Billing’s first-half strike secured an advantage they protected admirably on Saturday.

Mohamed Salah missed a penalty for Jurgen Klopp’s men in the second half as a team who put seven past Manchester United only six days prior failed to break down their lowly hosts.

Defeat is a blow to Liverpool’s top-four hopes, but the win sees Gary O’Neil’s side climb out of the relegation zone in the Premier League.

Liverpool went close to taking the lead in the sixth minute when Virgil van Dijk headed a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner goalwards, only for Jefferson Lerma to clear off the line.

Soon after it was Dango Ouattara who had a glorious opportunity at the other end when he was sent through on goal, but the Burkina Faso international could only find the side-netting after rounding Alisson.

Cody Gakpo had a goal ruled out for offside, yet it was the Cherries who took the lead in the 28th minute when Ouattara latched onto a long ball and cut a cross back to Billing to finish.

Klopp brought Diogo Jota on for Harvey Elliott at half-time, and the Portuguese forward forced a fine save from Neto to his left within four minutes of the restart.

Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Adam Smith’s outstretched arm blocked a Jota header, but Salah fired wide, and Bournemouth this time saw out the late pressure to seal the win.

What does it mean? A week really is a long time in football

Bournemouth would have been forgiven for allowing their heads to drop after the agonising late loss at Arsenal last time out.

If anything, they used it to inspire them and fought valiantly to secure their first home win since beating Everton in November.

Liverpool looked a shadow of the team who thrashed United, going from a game in which everything went right to one where everything went wrong, scoring seven from 18 shots last week but failing to score from 15 this time.

Lerma dominates the middle

Lerma is a player who seems to collect bookings like Erling Haaland collects goals, but his return to the team on Saturday saw the best of him.

The Colombian won possession nine times, made two interceptions and, most impressively, avoided a yellow card.

Liverpool lack the early fight

The Reds only won 41 per cent of their duels in the first half, with teenage pair Elliott and Stefan Bajcetic not winning any of nine between them and Darwin Nunez only winning one of five.

That improved to 53 per cent in the second half, but with Bournemouth protecting a lead given to them during an insipid first 45 minutes, Liverpool just did not have enough.

What’s next?

Bournemouth head to Aston Villa next Saturday, while Liverpool go to the Santiago Bernabeu for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Real Madrid on Wednesday with a 5-2 deficit to overturn.

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