Mohamed Salah goes from hero to zero: Liverpool winners & losers as Reds star misses crucial penalty in Bournemouth horror show

Salah Klopp Liverpool Bournemouth GFX
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The Egyptian fired wide from the spot as Jurgen Klopp's side were beaten 1-0 by the relegation-threatened Cherries at the Vitality Stadium

Perhaps it was inevitable that after the feast last weekend, the famine would come this time around. Liverpool thought they'd turned a corner following their thrashing of Manchester United, but they ran into another dead end here, beaten 1-0 by a Bournemouth side that started the day bottom of the Premier League.

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Philip Billing's first-half goal settled matters on the south coast, with Mohamed Salah blazing a penalty woefully off target as the Reds sought a route back into the game after the break.

In truth, though, Jurgen Klopp's side deserved nothing after another inadequate away performance. They miss the chance to move into the Premier League's top four after suffering their eighth league defeat of the campaign.

GOAL breaks down the winners & losers from the Vitality Stadium...

  1. WINNER: Dango Ouattara
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    WINNER: Dango Ouattara

    You would have gotten good odds, ahead of kick-off, on the notion that the most effective attacking player in this game would be wearing black and red stripes.

    But as Salah, Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo flopped, Ouattara flourished. The £20 million ($24m) January signing from Lorient was outstanding, creating chaos whenever he was given the chance to run at Liverpool’s backline, who looked ill-equipped to cope with the Burkina Faso international’s speed and directness.

    Ouattara should have opened the scoring himself in the first half, taking the ball too wide as he rounded Alisson Becker early on, but he more than made amends soon after, timing his run perfectly to collect Adam Smith’s forward pass, roaring past a dawdling Virgil van Dijk to the byline and then crossing for Billing to score from close range.

    In this tightest of relegation battles, Bournemouth need all the inspiration they can muster. They had it here, in the shape of their new 21-year-old wideman.

  2. LOSER: Mohamed Salah
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    LOSER: Mohamed Salah

    What a difference six days can make. From hero last weekend to zero this. A week in the life of Mo Salah.

    This was not the Egyptian's day, to say the least. Not only was he quiet, shackled well by Bournemouth left-back Lloyd Kelly, but he was involved in the game's defining moment as well.

    Liverpool have waited all season for a Premier League penalty, and then when they finally get one, awarded for a handball by Adam Smith after a VAR check, their star man goes and smashes it into the River Solent. 

    It was, in fairness, only the fourth penalty Salah has missed for Liverpool, and his first since December 2021, when Kasper Schmeichel denied him at Leicester.

    That ended up costing Liverpool come the end of the campaign, as it turned out, and one wonders whether this one might, as well.

  3. WINNER: Gary O'Neil

    A penny for the thoughts of Scott Parker, if he was watching.

    In a week where Bournemouth's former boss lost his latest job, as head coach of Club Brugge, the man who replaced him at the Vitality Stadium recorded the biggest win of his fledgling managerial career here.

    Huge credit must go to O'Neil, who was able to pick his players up after the heartache of last week's late, late defeat at Arsenal, and who sees his side move out of the relegation zone as a result.

    They deserved it, too. Sure, they needed a helping hand from Salah, and a couple of Van Dijk chances in the first half could have changed the outlook, but Bournemouth defended well, counter-attacked with menace and, to a man, ran themselves into the ground.

    Their first win over Liverpool since 2016 was as well-earned as it is important.

  4. LOSER: Virgil van Dijk
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    LOSER: Virgil van Dijk

    A dominant performance this most definitely was not.

    Liverpool’s recent revival may have been built on some vastly-improved defending, with five Premier League clean sheets in a row and six in their last seven prior to kick off, but they were a mile off it here, and nowhere was that more evident than in Van Dijk’s display.

    The Dutchman was not solely responsible for Bournemouth’s opener, but he was certainly culpable, reacting slowly to the danger as Ouattara escaped too easily to set up Billing. It was emblematic of the 31-year-old's struggles, as he found it hard to get a grip of Dominic Solanke, the former Reds striker.

    Van Dijk had two great chances to make amends for his error in the first half, but saw Jefferson Lerma superbly clear one header off the line before glancing another one wastefully wide from close range.

    The grimace said it all. Costly misses. A costly afternoon.

  5. WINNER: Tottenham

    How to give your team a boost without kicking a ball.

    As Tottenham prepared for their home game with Nottingham Forest, Antonio Conte and his players will no doubt have been receiving updates from the Vitality Stadium, and will no doubt have been rubbing their eyes in disbelief too.

    It looked like Liverpool had made themselves favourites for the top four, but the manner of this defeat must cast doubt over their ability to last the course.

    This was, in fact, the kind of defeat Spurs might have been expected to throw in, a meek and tame away performance, just when things were looking up.

    Can Conte and his side capitalise? Can Newcastle do so on Sunday? And should they all start worrying about Chelsea, who seem like they're getting their act together under Graham Potter?

    Only one thing looks certain for now. In the race for the Champions League, there are no clear favourites.

  6. LOSER: Everton

    If the battle for the top four is tense, than what about the fight to avoid relegation?

    Bournemouth's win here could not have been better timed, their second victory in 13 games moving them from 20th to 16th in the blink of an eye.

    Bad news for Everton, whose fans found themselves in the unusual position of hoping for a Liverpool win prior to kick-off (maybe not), and for Southampton, who sunk to the bottom of the table as a consequence. Not great for Leeds, West Ham or Leicester either, as it happens.

    With just six points separating the bottom nine clubs, it promises to be a nervy couple of months at the foot of the table. Wins like this, then, can do so much to boost a team's chances.