Josh King’s late equaliser gave Bournemouth a precious 2-2 draw in their search for Premier League survival and damaged Liverpool’s Champions League qualification hopes.King pivoted to score from eight yards with three minutes left at Anfield on Wednesday after Liverpool failed to deal with a throw-in.
Benik Afobe had given the visitors an early lead before goals from Philippe Coutinho and Divock Origi looked to have put Jurgen Klopp’s side on course for a vital victory.
As it was, King’s goal extended Bournemouth’s unbeaten run to five matches and left them seven points clear of the bottom three.
Third-placed Liverpool are six points ahead of Arsenal in fifth in the battle for a top-four finish.
Liverpool began with energy, twice going close to scoring in the first three minutes.
Roberto Firmino, found by Origi, drove a 20-yard shot from the right that Artur Boruc flipped over the bar.
From Coutinho’s resulting corner Lucas Leiva glanced goalwards, and Dejan Lovren narrowly failed to get a touch as he dived in head-first at the far post.
But all of that early momentum was then lost in one moment of madness from Georginio Wijnaldum.
The Dutch midfielder, under only mild pressure from Harry Arter, played a back pass without seeing Afobe, who nipped in and rolled the ball under the helpless Simon Mignolet.
Afobe has not had a prolific season, but his alertness in scoring showed just why manager Eddie Howe broke the club’s transfer record to sign him.
Origi scuffed wide a good chance to equalise for Liverpool from another Coutinho corner which flicked off a Bournemouth head.
– Frustration –
The home side’s own defensive weaknesses were laid bare again as Simon Francis’s corner was glanced on by Steve Cook, and an unmarked Marc Pugh volleyed across goal and wide when well-placed.
Wijnaldum, seeking to make up for his earlier error, drove straight at Boruc from 20 yards when Afobe headed out a Coutinho corner, but Liverpool were struggling to create clear chances.
Bournemouth began to threaten on the counter-attack and King, speeding away down the right past Lovren, fizzed in an angled shot that just cleared the crossbar at the near post.
Liverpool relied more and more on long-range efforts as the first half drew to a close. Boruc saved comfortably from Firmino, while Coutinho’s free-kick flew just over.
Just as their frustration threatened to get the better of them they equalised.
Origi glanced Mignolet’s deep kick towards Firmino, who slotted a through pass for Coutinho to control and beat the goalkeeper.
That seemed to calm Liverpool’s jitters a little and they almost went ahead early in the second half as Nathaniel Clyne cut in from the right past Francis and hit a 25-yard stinger that Boruc just got a touch to as it bounced out off the underside of the bar.
Liverpool struck again just before the hour as Wijnaldum made amends for his early blunder, dancing past the recalled Jack Wilshere before looping over a cross for Origi to head in.
Still Liverpool were not completely safe, though, as Charlie Daniels burst down the left for the visitors and slammed in a low cross that just eluded Afobe and King in the centre.
And as it transpired, they could not see the job through.
A long throw-in caused panic in the home defence and after Arter drove the ball back towards goal, King pivoted to score from eight yards.
Source: G Sport