05 December 2016

Visualized: Liverpool 3-4 Bournemouth

Previous Match Infographics: Sunderland (h), Southampton (a), Watford (h), Crystal Palace (a), West Brom (h), United (h), Swansea (a), Hull (h), Chelsea (a), Leicester (h), Tottenham (a), Burnley (a), Arsenal (a)

All match data from Stats Zone and Who Scored.

Here's a list of all the matches where Liverpool have drawn or lost from a 2-0 lead since 2004-05.

3-4 Bournemouth (a) 2016-17
2-2 Newcastle (h) 2015-16
2-3 Southampton (a) 2015-16
2-2 Sunderland (h) 2015-16

2-2 Leicester (h) 2014-15
3-3 Palace (a) 2013-14
2-2 Arsenal (a) 2012-13
2-2 Everton (a) 2012-13

2-3 QPR (a) 2011-12

4-4 Chelsea CL (a) 2008-09

Sure, it's the first time it's happened this season – and we've seen much, much more good than bad this season – but that's four times in the last 28 league matches. Four times in the last 12 league matches that Liverpool have failed to win. That's seven more points that Liverpool should have had last season – and seven more points would've seen Liverpool finish fourth – to go along with three that would've seen Liverpool keep pace with Chelsea this season.

Liverpool giving away a 2-0 lead happened four times in Rodgers' three-and-a-little-more seasons, with Liverpool at least drawing all four, once in Dalglish's season-and-a-half, and once in Benitez's six seasons, in the Champions League with Liverpool chasing an away goal deficit.

Liverpool's football has been a lot more fun this season than in any other but two of those other 12 seasons, but this is not a good trend.

There's probably some recency bias involved, but this seemed the first of the four matches where Liverpool truly deserved to drop points. Sunderland and Newcastle were both flukes (as much as you can call something that's happened multiple times "flukes"). Southampton and Liverpool were more evenly matched, but Liverpool's "good" first half was far better than yesterday's, Liverpool probably should have been further ahead than 2-0, and Liverpool's defense collapsed even more at St Mary's after Lovren went off at halftime and all but helped hand Southampton the win (hi Skrtel, how's Turkey?).

Yesterday, Liverpool weren't especially impressive even in the first half. Sure, they pressed exceedingly well, completely pinning Bournemouth back, but their possession didn't lead to many chances, taking just five shots. Both of Liverpool's goals came from long passes and pace rather than well-worked moves and were absolutely helped by Boruc's goal-keeping. Shot accuracy wasn't great – just three on-target, all three goals – Firmino did little out wide, etc, etc.

And the second half was a completely different story. Again, scads of Liverpool possession, but still too few shots, coupled with a lot more chances for Bournemouth, mainly through counter-attacks and set plays and especially in the final 30 minutes. Ten of Bournemouth's 12 shots came after Can gave Liverpool a 3-1 lead. Seven of those ten shots were on-target.

This was the first time that Liverpool were out-shot in a match this season.

But, despite Bournemouth being honestly good, especially in the second half but even in the first, there's still more than a bit of Liverpool shooting itself in the foot.

I still can't get over Bournemouth's second goal. You're two goals up with 15 minutes to play. You've seen off one Bournemouth attempt at getting back in the game, responding to Wilson's penalty with a Can's excellent strike, and seen the last ten minutes pass with just one frightening incident, Fraser's effort saved by Karius after a left-wing cross.

Then, this happens.

Eight Liverpool players – everyone bar the center-backs and Karius – in Bournemouth's half (Henderson's just behind Can, barely out of the picture, and pushes both further forward and to the right after this), with six in the final third. Both full-backs are incredibly far forward (Clyne's basically in the penalty box). Again, you're two goals up with just 15 minutes to play. Why.

So when Origi cheaply loses possession, basically passing straight to Wilshere, we've got a problem. Everyone's on the back foot.

Hey, Dejan. Maybe watch Callum Wilson. Also, why is Milner running in-field?

And Liverpool still *nearly* dealt with it. Lucas is on the ground because he's slipped after missing an interception by inches. Similar goes for Henderson, directly in front of Fraser. If Wilson's pass is any closer to either of those players, Liverpool almost certainly deals with the situation, and there's a good chance (at least a far better chance) that Liverpool holds onto the victory.

From there, the still all-too-familiar collapse, nerves and tilt and failure, while Bournemouth recovered belief. Failing to deal with the second phase after a half-cleared set play for the third, similar after a long throw coupled with Karius' error for the fourth – both boned-headed concessions we've seen before, in this season and last.

Liverpool have gotten to where they are this season with full-throttle go-for-the-throat football, but there's a time and place for everything. In retrospect, the time before Bournemouth's second was a time for safety. They don't do it often, but Klopp's Liverpool can do safety.

Also, this is important.

Every single one of Bournemouth's big chances came from something Liverpool did or didn't do. Wilson's penalty. Afobe out-muscling Lovren in an aerial duel from a bouncing ball hoofed out by Boruc, then dancing around Lucas before being denied by Karius from point-blank range. Ake's first rebound when Karius' spilled Cook's shot followed by the winning goal.

That's why Bournemouth took 12 shots despite just five key passes while Liverpool had 10 shots from nine key passes. The opposition doesn't need your help, Liverpool.

So, yeah, all the "THE SKY IS FALLING" is understandable. The hand-wringing over Liverpool's defense without Matip and Liverpool's attack without Coutinho is understandable. The fears about Karius' goal-keeping are understandable (I'll make excuses here: he made two good saves, was probably unsighted for Bournemouth's second, and Cook's blast which led to Ake's rebound was both hard-hit and moving).

But even after all the complaining above, I'll still plead for a bit of calm. Even if they've happened too often under Klopp, games like this do happen. Bournemouth does deserve more than a bit of credit. If Milner's corner goes two centimeters further in the 73rd minute, it's 4-1, game over. Origi was a foot away from scoring a Liverpool winner just before Ake scored Bournemouth's. It's the first time this season Liverpool took fewer points from the same fixture than they did last season. It's Liverpool's second loss of the season after a 15-match unbeaten streak. Liverpool still have more points from 14 games than they did in 2013-14.

I didn't enjoy the comparison, but it was pointed out to me last night that this looked an awful lot like what Liverpool did to Borussia Dortmund at Anfield last season. Dortmund turned out okay.

Sure, there are more than a few signs that should cause worry. But, so far this season, Liverpool have exceeded expectations. And so far this season, Liverpool have learned from every set back.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Forget the Karius excuses. Karius' eyesight was "locked on" that ball before Fraser took the shot for Bournemout's second goal. Watch the replay from Karius' angle. He's shifting his position to be able to see the ball clearly beyond Can. He should have done better. Like the announcer mentions. He dove late. Brain freeze?

Karius has a "brain freeze" every once in awhile. Like the Palace first goal. Where Lovren mishits the skied clearance and Karius comes out to try to block McArthur's header. Karius keeps his hands by his side even though McArthur is heading the ball over him. He should put his hands up to try to block the header. Why does he keep his hands down? Brain freeze? He can't process quickly enough that he is still inside the area and can use his hands? Not the smartest bulb in the bunch? Whatever the reason, it ain't a good look.

That 4th goal where he doesn't cleanly catch the shot was horrendous. Migs makes BOTH of these plays. He makes the save on that second goal and cleanly holds on to that shot on the 4th goal. I would just like to know how culpable Achterberg is for these keeper fuckups. He came in with Hodgson. Maybe he should have gone out with Hodgson?

It's no coincidence either that we have conceded 9 fooking goals on the 3 away games Matip has missed. Two losses to Burnley and Bournemouth were beyond embarrassing. Arsenal was heading in that direction after we went up 4-1. Klavan was in the CB pairing for the 5 goals conceded to Arsenal and Burnley. He had a big hand in 4 of them. A 50 yard cross field drilled ball to Clyne to put him under pressure for Burnleys first goal. A double whiff on the goal sequence for Burnley's second goal. (Weak tackle at midfield followed by a whiff on the 18 before Gray buried the shot in the corner). He follows Ramsey into an offside position to allow Walcott room for Arsenal's first goal. He was marking Chambers on the direct kick for Arsenal's third goal.

A big reason Klopp gave Lucas the shout at Bournemouth was no doubt the 5 goals we conceded with Klavan in the CB pairing in the first 2 games of the season.

Both Klavan and Lucas are not what we need in the CB pairing in away matches. And I love Lucas.