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    Liverpool 2-2 Bournemouth Match Report

    Joshua King's late equaliser denied Liverpool a crucial victory at Anfield that would have given the home side an eight-point cushion in their quest for a top-four position.

    The Reds had trailed following Benik Afobe's early strike but stood on the brink of victory when goals either side of half-time from Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi turned the match in their favour.

    Liverpool dominated possession and created the most chances but failed to shake-off their plucky opponents who claimed their first point at Anfield in the club's 118-year history.

    The result takes Eddie Howe's side a point closer to survival, despite dropping two positions in the table, while Liverpool remain third after fourth-place Manchester City lost at leaders Chelsea.

    Liverpool went into the match in excellent form having beaten neighbours Everton in the Merseyside derby four days earlier, which followed recent home wins over Tottenham, Arsenal and Burnley.

    Jurgen Klopp's side were still without captain Jordan Henderson, while Sadio Mane was ruled out with the knee injury he sustained against Everton and Joel Matip was only fit enough for a place on the bench.

    Visitors Bournemouth, meanwhile, were on a four-match unbeaten run which started with a 1-1 draw against Manchester United at Old Trafford and included wins over West Ham and Swansea.

    The Cherries made three changes from the 0-0 draw at Southampton on Saturday, with Dan Gosling, Ryan Fraser and Andrew Surman all making way for midfielders Jordon Ibe, Harry Arter and Jack Wilshere.

    Despite Bournemouth's early goal, it was Liverpool who twice came close to breaking the deadlock in the opening few minutes as Roberto Firmino's 18-yard strike was tipped over the crossbar by Artur Boruc.

    Liverpool also sensed a breakthrough from the resulting corner when Philippe Coutinho's cross was flicked-on at the near-post by Lucas Leiva but his header drifted three yards wide of Boruc's left-hand post.

    The home team's back-four looked susceptible whenever it was put under pressure by Eddie Howe's side but the defensive problems were all of their own making when the visitors took a seventh-minute lead.

    Georginio Wijnaldum's misplaced back-pass was easily intercepted by Benik Afobe, who reached the ball ahead of the onrushing Simon Mignolet before beating the Belgium with a clinical finish.

    Liverpool struggled to create many opportunities in the opening 40 minutes but their best opening fell to Divock Origi, who was unable to wrap his foot around the ball to convert from only three yards out.

    The Reds, who enjoyed 66 per cent possession throughout the match, struggled to wrestle control away from Bournemouth for much of the first-half and it was the visitors who also came close to scoring a second goal.

    Simon Francis' corner was headed-on by Steve Cook to the far-post, where Marc Pugh was all alone but his left-footed volley from six yards fell just inches wide of Boruc's left-hand post.

    Joshua King also stretched the Liverpool defence when he latched onto Harry Arter's through-ball but despite having the pace to evade Ragnar Klavan and Dejan Lovren, his eventual strike narrowly evaded Mignolet's crossbar.

    The moment that appeared to turn the match in Liverpool's favour arrived five minutes before the break, with Roberto Firmino and Philippe Coutinho combining to cut open the Bournemouth defence.

    With a crowd of four defenders in front of him, Firmino managed to thread an intricate pass into the path of Coutinho who finished emphatically from 10 yards to give the home team a major boost heading into half-time.

    Liverpool improved after the break after a disappointing first-half display and came within inches of turning the match on its head when Nathaniel Clyne's 20-yard strike cannoned off the crossbar and fell to safety.

    It was only a matter of time before Jurgen Klopp's side did take the lead, however, with Georginio Wijnaldum making up for his earlier mistake by setting-up Divock Origi to score his 10th goal of the season.

    The Dutchman beat two Bournemouth defenders before dinking a pinpoint left-footed cross onto the head of Origi, who converted the easiest of chances from three yards to put Liverpool ahead on the hour-mark.

    Such was the delicacy of Liverpool's advantage that they were always susceptible to a Bournemouth sucker-punch and that duly arrived three minutes from time when Joshua King netted a dramatic equaliser.

    Harry Arter's initial strike was blocked by the former Manchester United forward, who turned past Klavan and James Milner before slotting the ball past a flat-footed Mignolet from 10 yards.

    There was still time for Liverpool to mount two further assaults on the Bournemouth goal in the closing stages but neither Joel Matip or Ragnar Klavan could convert headed chances when well-positioned.

    Matip's effort from a Milner corner drifted a yard wide of Boruc's right-hand post, while Klavan was unable to generate the pace to trouble the Polish stopper from slightly closer-range.

    Despite extending their lead in the table over fourth-place Manchester City, Liverpool's inability to hold on to all three points represented yet another occasion that the club have failed to beat one of the Premier League's lesser lights.

    Jurgen Klopp's side were unable to match the intensity they showed in previous matches against Tottenham, Arsenal and Everton, while The Cherries were able to expose weaknesses in the Liverpool defence have been in relatively short supply of late.

    The Reds, who remain in third position, return to action on Saturday against 12th-place Stoke City where they will face the same conundrum of how to replicate the form they have displayed so often in top-seven encounters.

    Bournemouth, meanwhile, showed plenty of character to come away from Anfield with a point having played well in the first-half before losing their way somewhat in the match following Coutinho's equaliser.

    Eddie Howe's side have now won four points against Liverpool this season, having never beaten The Reds in nine previous encounters, in addition to securing creditable draws against Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester United.

    The Cherries move seven points clear of the relegation zone ahead of a meeting with Chelsea on Saturday, while the draw extends the club's unbeaten run in the Premier League to five matches.
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool 2-2 Bournemouth Match Report Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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