Liverpool title hopes in doubt after Bournemouth shambles
Goalkeeper Loris Karius takes much of the blame for 4-3 defeat, but Jurgen Klopp has questions to answer
Liverpool's title credentials are in doubt after Jurgen Klopp's side imploded in spectacular fashion against Bournemouth on Sunday, surrendering a 3-1 lead with 20 minutes to go and losing 4-3.
"Credit to Bournemouth, of course. This was Roy of the Rovers stuff, a day the locals will talk about for decades," says Sami Mokbel of the Daily Mail. "But Liverpool, courtesy of some awful defending, only have themselves to blame."
Goalkeeper Loris Karius must shoulder much of the responsibility, says former Reds defender Jamie Carragher of Sky Sports.
The summer arrival was at fault for two of the Cherries' goals. First, despite getting a hand to the ball, he failed to stop a shot from Ryan Fraser, gifting Bournemouth the goal that inspired their comeback. Then there was the coup de grace, when he spilled Steve Cook's long-range shot, allowing Nathan Ake to bundle in a winner in stoppage time.
"This goalkeeper is yet to convince me... that he's of the required standard," said Carragher. "In eight starts for Liverpool he has not shown me one thing to suggest he's good enough at this level.
"It's no coincidence Liverpool have fallen apart over the last two or three years," he continued, adding that the former Mainz keeper did not represent an upgrade on Simon Mignolet, who he was signed to replace.
However, Klopp defended his keeper. "If you make mistakes, you get criticised," he said. "It says nothing about him as a goalkeeper. It happens. We go on."
Nevertheless, he accepted the Reds had "left the door open" for Bournemouth at 3-1.
Others are rather more forthright. Oliver Kay of The Times describes it as "a capitulation as feeble as anything you will see all season" and questions Liverpool's status as Premier League title contenders.
"League-winning teams do not tend to collapse in this manner and, while Liverpool's supporters will point out the absence of Joel Matip in central defence, there has always been the suspicion that Klopp's team, so impressive with the ball, still lack the resilience to stand firm when put under pressure," he adds.
There are wider concerns for Klopp. Liverpool's second defeat of the season illustrated their "fading momentum" and proved that any system "can be punctured by human variables", says Barney Ronay of The Guardian.
"The dream is to have a group that plays a system right the way through, who can absorb the absence of key players, as here, and simply fill in the gaps," he writes.
"If Liverpool's evolving, high-energy team really are going to get close to a first Premier League title there could yet be plenty more gorgeous agony along the way."