Liverpool missed a golden opportunity to solidify their place in the top four last night as AFC Bournemouth came from behind to nick a point in what was an entertaining match at Anfield. If the draw wasn’t bad enough, seeing Philippe Coutinho exit proceedings and go straight down the tunnel just past the hour mark only doubled down on the concerns of the Reds fans, but in his post match press conference the boss set the record straight.
“We had to change Phil because he felt sick at half-time. He vomited,” explained Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, putting to bed any concerns about the Brazilian’s fitness. “He said he feels better now – that’s good – but it was clear when he gave the sign then we had to change,” added the German manager. “It’s no joy when you have to take off the best player in this moment on the pitch, because he played really well.”
Looking lackadaisical after the all-action win over Everton at the weekend, the hosts fell behind when Benik Afobe gave Bournemouth a much deserved lead, latching on to a poor back-pass from Georginio Wijnaldum en-route to slotting past Simon Mignolet. Thankfully Coutinho was on hand to restore parity just before the break, but the Brazilian was quickly withdrawn after Divock Origi gave the Reds the lead and replaced by Joel Matip as they took up a more defensive approach. That, of course, didn’t work out as Josh King rolled Ragnar Klavan to slot in the winner and quickly spur questions as to why they took their foot off the gas — and why Matip didn’t start the match.
“Maybe, I don’t know, it was back problems. I can explain exactly how it was,” said Klopp, looking for an explanation. “He came on the pitch this morning when we had a little, little, little session [and] it looked good and then he had to fix his boots and it didn’t look good,” continued the Liverpool manager. “Obviously, you can find somebody in the game who can fix your boots, but I thought that’s not 100 per cent and this game is 100 per cent. We brought him on because he was warming up and we asked again and it was then better,” added the German. “Probably he could have played 90 minutes, I’m not sure.