At the end of the first half, Liverpool looked to be cruising to victory against Bournemouth. The question wasn’t whether or not the Reds would win the game. It was by how much they’d win it. It was by how much they could pad their goal differential.
Then, everything fell apart. Liverpool lost focus, lost control of the match, and far too often were caught in possession. Bournemouth fought back, then fought level. Then, in stoppage time, Bournemouth got themselves a game winner. Afterwards, Jordan Henderson was trying to sort through what had happened.
"That's the one thing you've got to do, try and learn from it as best you can and use it for the next game," said the Liverpool captain, speaking to the club’s official website. "We've been brilliant so far this season but today we weren't at our best and we were punished.”
Liverpool were punished because they failed to manage the game; they were punished because players made mistakes. It all really started going wrong shortly after the 75th minute. Liverpool were up 3-1 and the game seemed settled, but they still wanted more.
The midfield pushed high, runners advancing beyond striker Divock Origi, who turned on the ball with time. Five Liverpool players were ahead of him in the box. He lost the ball, turning it over when he had plenty of options and was under little pressure.
Blame his teammates for being too attacking at a time when attacking wasn’t needed, perhaps. Or blame the defence that fumbled and stumbled as they scrambled to get back in cover when Bournemouth countered. Or blame a young striker not realising the situation and turning it over.
It’s probably the weakest part of Origi’s game, and it’s also the area Roberto Firmino—who was playing striker until Philippe Coutinho’s recent injury forced a reshuffle—is strongest. Dropping off and orchestrating as a false nine while an aggressive midfield pushes past him.
In the end, it was a team error. Origi made a mistake he couldn’t—and shouldn’t. Others were too aggressive. Others failed to react properly. The manager, perhaps, should have been reigning his side in at that stage. Bournemouth got their second, and despite still being up, Liverpool never recovered.
"There's nothing we can say, really,” added the Liverpool captain. "I don't feel like we were at 100% throughout the game to be honest, but we did well to get back to 3-1 in the lead. But [we needed] to keep going and keep fighting, which in the end we didn't do.
"Overall, it's just very disappointing. It's bitterly disappointing today. It’s hard to explain, but we just have to move on as best we can and put this one behind us."