(Reuters) - Liverpool’s quest for a top-four finish suffered a setback as a 2-2 draw at home to Bournemouth on Wednesday saw them again drop points to a side in the bottom half of the Premier League - the Anfield team’s Achilles heel this season.
Liverpool are unbeaten in 10 games against top-six teams this season, having won five and drawn five, claiming seven more points than their closest rivals Chelsea in that mini-league.
Liverpool’s downfall has been their inability to dispatch teams lower down the table, with their last six defeats dating back to last season coming against teams in the bottom half.
Liverpool have now matched their points tally from last term but losses to Burnley, Bournemouth, Swansea City, Hull City and Leicester City have created a sense of ‘What if?’ at Anfield.
Against Bournemouth on Wednesday, Liverpool led 2-1, having conceded an early opener, and were heading for three points before Joshua King’s 86th-minute equalizer.
At one stage, Liverpool were level on points with second-placed Tottenham Hotspur but the Merseysdiers’ late setback, coupled with Spurs’ late 3-1 comeback win at Swansea City, means they now sit five points adrift of the north London side.
Liverpool remain third but Manchester City are two points behind them with a game in hand, while Arsenal and Manchester United are six points adrift but have two extra games to play.
“We could have closed the game earlier but we didn’t find the right solution, the right pass,” Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp told the BBC.
”It was clear it would not be perfect tonight but, of course, we could have found this one counter-attack to close the game.
“And then, of course, (there was) the second ball after the set piece (which led to the equalizer). It’s my responsibility. We have to work on this, we have to sort it because it hurts a lot,” added Klopp.
“It is important that you feel disappointment because we can’t ignore it and say, ‘No problem’. It’s one point more which is good. We all know we can beat each team but obviously we can lose against a few. We have to learn from it.”
Liverpool travel to Stoke City in their next game.
Reporting by Tom Hayward; Editing by Ken Ferris