From the sublime to the ridiculous; intensity to lethargy; stunning to shocking. This performance, above all, was unacceptable. Defeated by a Bournemouth team who are bottom of the league, it’s surely time to accept that the issues that have affected this Liverpool side all season, were merely disguised last week, rather than eliminated.
It’s difficult to objectively assess a game in which Van Djik, who should have scored at one end, was so bad at the other. A game in which, having been awarded their first penalty of the season, Mo Salah, largely anonymous for ninety minutes, blasted a penalty so wide and high, it’s probably still sailing towards the Bournemouth sea front.
Brentford, Brighton, Wolves, Crystal Palace, and now Bournemouth, all games that Liverpool have demonstrated such a lack of intensity, desire and quality, that it’s impossible to go on believing in this particular group of players. Consistently inconsistent, whilst being continuously unable to affect games from the bench. Nothing better exemplified the latter point than James Milner, a brilliant servant of the club, being brought on when Liverpool needed a goal, whilst Trent Alexander Arnold, often our most creative player, was withdrawn. It had the all to obvious affect, of making no difference at all.
Perhaps most frustratingly, following 13 points from 15, a victory today would have seen Liverpool advance to fourth in the league. Yet other than for the first 15 minutes, it never looked likely. Bournemouth were quicker to the ball, had an obvious game plan, and gave everything throughout. All things that were again lacking in Liverpools performance. Again, because it’s a pattern. Again, because it’s happened so often, and again, because it’s perhaps time to finally recognise that some players are finally beyond consistently acceptable displays.
So, is a miracle on the cards in Madrid? Surely not. It would though be a minor miracle, if this group of players, have the chance to face Real again next season. Qualification for next seasons Champions League looks beyond the necessary consistency of results to finish in the top four, and many fans may well have concluded that this specific group of players are done, and only major summer surgery will arrest the slide.