A second half capitulation from Liverpool ensured the Reds missed their chance of going second in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp’s side were two goals to the good on separate occasions but defensive cracks and increased pressure from Bournemouth saw three points fall out of their grasp.
Dejan Lovren’s performance was rather questionable, with Joel Matip’s ankle injury highlighting the weak links in defence. The Cameroonian, who joined Liverpool in the summer on a free transfer, has become a pivotal part of Jurgen Klopp’s side – evident by the fact that the two losses sustained this season were without Matip.
In his absence, Lovren looked there for the taking. The Reds have lost twice this season, both of which Joel Matip didn’t feature in and it was all too familiar a story at the Vitality. Giving away the ball in his own half, the Croatian put his side under pressure, leading to James Milner conceding a penalty that instigated Bournemouth’s fight back. Rather than showing his experience and leading by example, Lovren, like many of his teammates, lost his head. Liverpool paid the price for failing to wrap up the game. A chance not taken.
Here’s how some fans on Twitter reacted to Lovren’s performance:
This match was ironclad proof Lovren is dire unless he has a superior partner who can cover up all of his mistakes, yet Lucas getting blamed
— LFC Fans Corner (@LFCFansCorner) December 4, 2016
Liverpool have lost twice this season, both of which Joel Matip didn't feature in. Says a lot about how important he is to our side.
— Leanne Prescott (@_lfcleanne) December 4, 2016
He basically needs perfect conditions to be good/not be bad.
— Sam McGuire (@SamMcGuire90) December 4, 2016
So far this season, Liverpool have been relatively solid at the back, with the defensive partnership of Matip and Lovren proving successful. However, what became apparent today in Matip’s absence was the fragility of the ex-Southampton defender. Despite being an experienced figure within the side, an error never seemed too far away from Lovren’s game.
On the back of such deflating defeats, fans often go into panic mode, as has been the case with the calling for several players to get the axe after throwing away a 2-0 lead. It would be silly to write off Lovren after just one game but he does find himself under pressure. A sustained absence from Matip could spell real trouble for Liverpool.
There has also been concern for summer signing Loris Karius. The goalkeeper was another guilty of a poor performance in this fixture. Liverpool need to hope this is a one-off performance from him, with Simon Mignolet proving to be similarly poor in recent years. What’s good for Karius is that he is only 23 and has plenty of time to adapt to English football and improved as a goalkeeper, Lovren, at 27, should now be in the prime of his career and now in his 4th season of English football, he has few excuses.