Mohamed Salah’s glaring penalty miss helped Bournemouth escape the relegation zone following an excellent win that jeopardized Liverpool’s chances of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.
The Reds were brought back to earth following last week’s 7-0 thrashing of Manchester United, as the Cherries, who started the weekend bottom, did their survival chances no harm.
After good work by Dango Ouattara, Liverpool were punished for poor defending when the unmarked Philip Billing struck from eight yards for his sixth Premier League goal of the season.
At 0-0, Virgil van Dijk had a header cleared off the line, and substitute Diogo Jota was denied by Neto’s fine save before Liverpool won a penalty when Adam Smith handled the Portugal forward’s header.
However, Salah, who last week became Liverpool’s all-time Premier League top scorer with 129 goals, blazed the penalty wide, much to the delight of Bournemouth fans.
While the win propelled Bournemouth to 16th place ahead of the 15:00 GMT kick-offs, Jurgen Klopp’s side missed out on fourth place for the first time this season due to a sluggish performance.
“This game was a massive knock,” the Reds manager said. “With knocks, you have to take them, see how big the scars are, and then go from there.”
After scoring seven goals in their previous match, the Reds failed to score against the Premier League’s worst defense.
Liverpool has made strides in recent weeks, but this was a step back for a team that faces a mountainous task to remain in the Champions League when they travel to European champions Real Madrid on Wednesday, looking to claw back a 5-2 deficit.