Mohamed Salah missed a second-half penalty as Liverpool lost 1-0 at Bournemouth, with Philip Billing’s goal taking them off the bottom of the Premier League standings and out of the relegation zone.
Bournemouth now sits 16th in the rankings with 24 points after winning their first league game of the weekend. Meanwhile, Liverpool are fifth in the table with 42 points, having blown a three-point lead over fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur.
Liverpool got off to a good start, with Salah scuffing an early chance goalwards and Cody Gakpo having an effort ruled out for offside.
Bournemouth defender Jefferson Lerma also had to clear a Virgil van Dijk header off the line, but as has happened so frequently this season, the wheels fell off for the visitors.
Dango Outtara of Bournemouth shot wide after a one-on-one with Alisson, but Liverpool ignored that warning and paid the price in the 28th minute when he outpaced Van Dijk and passed the ball for Billing, who drove it in.
Former Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke nearly scored a second shortly before the interval, and Billing fell tumbling in the area, but his penalty shouts were turned down as Bournemouth dominated the first half.
“It was apparent from the first second that we came here, Bournemouth are battling to remain in the league, beautiful club, wonderful city, they want to stay in and they do very well,” Klopp remarked after the game. “The results were not heading in the right way in the previous several months, but the performances seem different, and they deserve the three points today, that’s all.”
Diogo Jota replaced Harvey Elliott at halftime and had an immediate impact, pushing Neto into a save with a stinging strike four minutes later.
Jota then earned a penalty for Liverpool when his goal-bound header hit Adam Smith’s arm, but Salah blasted his spot shot high and wide of the goal, much to the chagrin of the travelling supporters.
The mistake in the 70th minute appeared to collapse Liverpool completely, and they did nothing to threaten the Bournemouth goal, with Gakpo firing a late opportunistic shot over the bar as his side’s onslaught fell short once again.
The home supporters exploded in jubilation at the final whistle as their team put some distance between themselves and the other teams at the bottom of the league.
“[We have to] be attentive, compact, and work for each other, like we’ve done several times this season. Today everything paid off, and the support was incredible,” ecstatic goal-scorer Billing told BT Sport.
“The places where we wanted to play were super-clear, super-open… we didn’t utilise it frequently enough, we didn’t appreciate the challenge of playing a deep, tight side,” Klopp added, declining to blame the setback on Salah’s penalty miss.
“Scoring there doesn’t improve performance, but it may influence the outcome. He [Salah] scored a lot of goals, yet he missed the penalty. “What can I say? That was never truly our game. We were dominating in the first half, but we usually put the ball in at the wrong time against a compact team.”