Klopp's exciting approach has got fans on their feet, but did Bournemouth reveal the other side of the coin?
The Reds appeared to be cruising to victory when Emre Can curled in a brilliant shot from the edge of the box to put the visitors 3-1 up at the Vitality Stadium, but a stirring fightback from Eddie Howe’s side inflicted Liverpool’s first defeat in 16 games in all competitions.
While fans and neutrals alike have marvelled at the Merseyside giant’s thrilling attacking approach under Klopp this season, their leaky defence continues to threaten their chances of a first ever Premier League title, with each of Bournemouth’s goals aided by avoidable defensive errors.
In particular, makeshift left-back James Milner dived in to give away a penalty just after half-time, which Callum Wilson slotted home, before an inability to deal with two balls into the box allowed Ryan Fraser and Steve Cook to draw the hosts level.
And, with seconds remaining, Nathan Ake sparked jubilient scenes after goalkeeper Loris Karius spilled Cook’s pass straight at the feet of the on-loan Chelsea defender, and Houghton has questioned Klopp’s inability to prepare his side for a second-half Bournemouth blitz.
“At the half time break, [Klopp] should be telling his players ‘they are going to come at us’, they’re 2-0 down, their fans aren’t happy, he should be preparing them for an onslaught,” the former Republic of Ireland international, who won two league titles in Liverpool red, told The Full Time Phone In on talkSPORT, broadcast at 3.30PM on 4 December.
Houghton also suggested that the exciting nature of Liverpool’s approach has overshadowed their defensive errors this season, calling to mind their 4-2 win against Crystal Palace where the Eagles were gifted two goals before being swept aside by an exceptional attacking display.
“No one is complaining about the way Liverpool have played this season,” he added. “They’ve lost two games all season.
“But they made some really poor decisions in the final 14 minutes. Milner going in for a challenge which he shouldn’t be going in for, the keeper spilling the ball into the path of Ake.
“Against Palace, when they won 4-2, they made two isolated mistakes but they played some wonderful football.
“And they played more than well enough today to get the points.”
Klopp is unlikely to alter a game plan that has underpinned Liverpool’s most prolific start to a Premier League season, but a second-half collapse could prompt déjà vu about the erratic reign of Brendan Rodgers.
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