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Ex-Liverpool striker Michael Owen highlighted the poor showing of three of Liverpool’s defenders in the play that led to Bournemouth’s decisive goal on Saturday.
The Reds’ ambitions of finishing in the top four of the Premier League were dealt a severe setback when they were defeated by the faltering Cherries. Dango Ouattara rendered Van Dijk immobile on the right flank, and Konate was unable to block his cross.
Alexander-Arnold left Phillip Billing unmarked, allowing the Bournemouth star to whisk the ball into the net. Owen points the finger of blame at the Reds trio for Liverpool’s inability to overcome the gap, which ultimately led to their eighth loss of the season.
Owen’s Honest Assessment of Liverpool’s Defense
“Virgil van Dijk ends up going in where you think he shouldn’t, but then Konate can see the whole picture. Van Dijk has gone in with his man,” Owen said on Premier League Productions.
“I think it’s a 50-50, I think Konate tries to play offside when he can see everything in front of him and he needs to be sprinting back, as it is, Van Dijk gets back in, then Billing and Alexander-Arnold at the back post,” he said.
“Trent Alexander-Arnold ends up coming to the back post, totally losing his man, and then it’s a simple finish in the end. I think Konate can do better (preventing the cross). But Trent completely loses his man. It’s a rubbish goal to give away,” the ex-striker added.
The Reds did have the chance to equalize from the penalty spot, but Mohamed Salah blasted it wide.
That left Klopp cutting a frustrated figure on the sideline, with his side now sixth in the table, six points behind fourth-placed Tottenham.
Alexander-Arnold’s Humble Post-Match Reaction
Alexander-Arnold demanded an improvement in performances from his team-mates after their latest low point. And the right-back warned the Reds they would continue to face tough opposition as the season approaches the run-in.
“We created chances, we had our chances to score. We never, obviously we had the goal disallowed. But we started on a bright foot and I think they just sucked the life out of the game and it was difficult for us to build momentum,” he said.
“They slowed the game down and executed their game plan and then go and score the goal,” the fullback added, “But it’s one of those – it was very avoidable, the goal, and it’s disappointing looking back on it.”
“This is the time of the season when everyone knows what they are fighting for and obviously Bournemouth are in a relegation battle, so they are fighting for survival. But every team in the league is fighting for something,” the defender said.
“It means a lot to get the three points and I think looking back on it now, they probably wanted it more than us and that is something that is unacceptable and we need to make sure this kind of thing doesn’t happen again.”
The Reds face a massive tie versus Real Madrid on Wednesday in the second leg of their Champions League last 16 fixture. The Merseyside club are 5-2 down on aggregate and a huge performance will be needed to turn over Madrid at the Bernabeau.