ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE
LONDON • It is occasions as utterly madcap as this that completely undermine Liverpool's credentials as Premier League title challengers.
There were long periods of yesterday's contest when Liverpool threatened to run riot and overrun their hosts.
And yet, from such dominance, they ended overwhelmed and victims of arguably the greatest result in AFC Bournemouth's history. This defied belief.
The home side produced a brilliant comeback to storm ahead from 1-3 down to claim a 4-3 win over the Reds, ending their 15-game unbeaten run.
There were shades of Selhurst Park back in the tail-end of Brendan Rodgers' title pursuit three seasons ago in the way Liverpool unravelled.
All those defensive frailties often cited as cause for concern were evident in the last 14 minutes at the Vitality Stadium to transform their 3-1 lead into a deficit in stoppage time.
The winner summed up the mess.
Steve Cook, a centre-half loitering high in enemy territory, was allowed to gather and spit a shot at goal which Loris Karius spilt.
There was Nathan Ake, who had started the afternoon as the hosts' other centre-back, to prod through the goalkeeper and in.
The majority inside the stadium erupted in delight, Eddie Howe leading the celebrations, while Jurgen Klopp winced in frustration.
The Liverpool manager had described Bournemouth as "a little village always fighting back, like Asterix and Obelix" in his pre-match press conference on Friday.
Quite what magic potion the locals have been brewing to make this possible is anyone's guess.
The impact of their substitute, Ryan Fraser, was astonishing and Liverpool, confronted by pace and feverish energy, could not cope.
The tables had been turned.
Senegal international Sadio Mane and Belgian striker Divock Origi, starting a league game for the first time this season, established a 2-0 lead for Liverpool midway through the first-half.
Callum Wilson halved the deficit from a penalty 11 minutes into the second-half, but, within seven minutes, Emre Can's fine effort from the edge of the penalty area restored the two-goal cushion.
It was snatched away, however, in stunning fashion with three Bournemouth goals in the last 20 minutes.
Fraser and Cook scored in the space of three minutes to bring Bournemouth level and in added time Ake - on loan from Chelsea - grabbed a stunning winner.
It was Liverpool's first defeat in the last 12 league games and left them third in the table, four points behind leaders Chelsea.
THE GUARDIAN, REUTERS