Joshua King scored a late equaliser as Bournemouth extended their unbeaten run to five matches and dented Liverpool’s Champions League aspirations.
King, who has been in breathtaking form recently, pounced three minutes from time to net his 12th of the season and deny the Reds victory at Anfield.
Benik Afobe had opened the scoring for the visitors early on before Liverpool responded with goals from Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi either side of half-time.
They looked to be in complete control, but there was a sting in the tale when the visitors netted a dramatic leveller.
Liverpool remain in third position and on course to qualify for the Champions League, although Arsenal and Manchester United can both overtake them if they win their matches in hand.
Here are three things we have learned from this Premier League encounter…
Familiar failings haunt Liverpool
Jurgen Klopp’s side have massively improved upon last season, but they remain a work in progress. While the Reds have secured notable victories against some of the Premier League’s heavyweights, they remain vulnerable against the lesser lights. Bournemouth, remember, claimed a stunning 4-3 win in the reverse fixture at the Vitality Stadium last December and caused an upset again here by holding the home side to a draw.
All of Liverpool’s defeats this term have been suffered against teams in the bottom half of the table – and that is a problem Klopp will be desperate to rectify. Bournemouth are an expansive side and although they saw little of the ball, they still caused the Reds serious problems and scored two goals. Liverpool did not look comfortable at the back all night, something that has been their undoing in a plethora of games this season. Could it cost them a Champions League spot?
Boruc returns to top form
Artur Boruc was heavily criticised during Bournemouth’s winless run of eight matches earlier this year, with several high-profile mistakes costing his side points. The Cherries had been in danger of tumbling into a relegation battle but nine points from their previous five matches have helped steady the ship. Boruc has been a key figure in this turnaround. He was magnificent in the 1-1 draw with Manchester United last month, which started the revival, before keeping consecutive clean sheets against Swansea City and Southampton.
The former Poland international was in superb form again at Anfield. There was nothing he could do about the Reds’ two goals, but the fingertip save he made from Nathaniel Clyne’s long-range strike, pushing the ball onto the bar, was world-class. At 37 years old and with his contract due to expire in the summer, this could be Boruc’s swansong in English football. He has been a fantastic servant and a key figure behind Bournemouth’s incredible rise.
Liverpool must learn to cope without Mane
Sadio Mane’s involvement in the Africa Cup of Nations back in January coincided with a downturn in Liverpool’s fortunes and that trend has continued since he suffered a season-ending knee injury. Klopp’s side have collected just two points from four matches without their talismanic forward this season and look much less potent as a goalscoring force. Mane’s big-money arrival from Southampton last summer raised eyebrows, but he has been an overwhelming success and fitted in seamlessly.
Liverpool, however, cannot afford to rest their hopes on just one player and must find a way to cope without him. Adam Lallana’s injury has compounded the issue and further depleted their attacking options, but Origi’s confidence will have been boosted by his goal against Bournemouth. He may now be the player Klopp relies upon to lead the line during the run-in.