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 threw away a two-goal lead at Arsenal, Philip Billing’s first-half strike secured an advantage which he defended admirably on Saturday.
Mohamed Salah missed a second-half penalty for Jurgen Klopp’s men as the team, who moved seven ahead of Manchester United just six days ago, failed to dismantle their lowly hosts.
Defeat is a blow to Liverpool’s top-four hopes, but victory sees Gary O’Neil’s side climb out of the relegation zone in the Premier League.
Liverpool came close to taking the lead in the sixth minute when Virgil van Dijk headed Trent Alexander-Arnold for a corner, only for Jefferson Lerma to clear off the line.
Soon after, it was Dango Ouattara who had a great 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 stretched out a long ball and clipped a cross back to Billing to finish.
Klopp brought on Diogo Jot at half-time for Harvey Elliott and the Portuguese forward forced a fine save from Neto on his left four minutes after the restart.
Liverpool were awarded a penalty in the 68th minute when Adam Smith’s outstretched arm blocked Jot’s header, but Salah fired wide and this time Bournemouth saw off late pressure to seal the win.
Bournemouth player ratings (4-4-1-1)
GK: Neto – 8/10 – Made one error but some really good saves that more than made up for it.
RB: Adam Smith – 6/10 – Was generally solid at the back and unlucky to give away a penalty.
CB: Jack Stephens – 6/10 – Was poor on the ball at times but did well defensively.
CB: Marco Senesi – 8/10 – Rock-solid at the back and so nearly got a brilliant assist after some lovely touches in the opposition box.
LB: Lloyd Kelly – 8/10 – Wasn’t caused any problems whatsoever by Salah, dealing with him easily.
RM: Dango Ouattara – 8/10 – Should’ve given his side an early lead but made amends when he set up Billing excellently and continued to threaten the Liverpool backline after that.
CM: Joe Rothwell – 6/10 – Worked hard in the midfield battle but didn’t too much of note on the ball.
CM: Jefferson Lerma – 7/10 – Won the ball back a lot and made an excellent clearance off the line.
LM: Jaidon Anthony – 7/10 – Caused Alexander-Arnold some problems but did his best work on the defensive end.
CAM: Philip Billing – 7/10 – Had an excellent first half, scoring and causing huge problems for Liverpool with his running, but faded in the second as Liverpool started to dominate possession.
ST: Dominic Solanke – 6/10 – His finishing left something to be desired, but he worked hard and linked up play well.
Ryan Christie (70′ for Billing) – 6/10
Lewis Cook (81′ for Lerma) – N/A
Ryan Fredericks (81′ for Smith) – N/A
Matias Vina (88′ for Anthony) – N/A
Antoine Semenyo (88′ for Solanke) – N/A
Gary O’Neil – 8/10 – Set up his side perfectly to ensure they were rock-solid at the back but could cause problems on the counter.
Liverpool player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Alisson- 5/10 – Couldn’t have done much about the Bournemouth goal and didn’t have anything else to deal with.
RB: Trent Alexander-Arnold – 4/10 – As is so often the case, was decent on the ball but poor defensively, particularly when he lost his man for the opener.
CB: Ibrahima Konate – 6/10 – Was the better of the two Liverpool centre-backs, generally looking solid and steady.
CB: Virgil van Dijk – 4/10 – Missed a few big chances from set-pieces and looked lethargic at the back, being too easily beaten for Billing’s goal. The Dutchman continues to fail to disprove claims that he’s not the same after his ACL injury.
LB: Andrew Robertson – 5/10 – Made some good passes and some sloppy errors.
CM: Harvey Elliott – 4/10 – Didn’t supply his attack or protect his defence before being taken off at half-time.
DM: Fabinho – 4/10 – Failed to control the midfield, giving the ball away a number of times and rarely winning it back.
CM: Stefan Bajcetic – 5/10 – Didn’t make his mark on the game at either end of the pitch for the right or wrong reasons.
RW: Mohamed Salah – 3/10 – Did nothing good from open play and missed a penalty with a pretty shocking effort.
ST: Cody Gakpo – 5/10 – Made some good runs from deep after being moved into midfield at the break but desperately lacked an product.
LW: Darwin Nunez – 5/10 – Struggled to get involved, although that was largely down to the poor service being provided to him by team-mates.
Diogo Jota (45′ for Elliott) – 5/10 – Had a good effort saved straight after coming on but was quiet after that.
Roberto Firmino (66′ for Nunez) – 6/10
Jordan Henderson (66′ for Fabinho) – 6/10
James Milner (66′ for Alexander-Arnold) – 6/10
Fabio Carvalho (88′ for Bajcetic) – N/A
Jurgen Klopp – 4/10 – Had a long time to figure out how to break Bournemouth down but didn’t come close to doing so, although he wasn’t helped by his players.