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Monday 16 January 2017

Our character strong: Klopp

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pictured after Sunday’s defeat at Bournemouth. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is pictured after Sunday’s defeat at Bournemouth. Photo: Adam Davy/PA Wire

Jurgen Klopp insists his Liverpool side have no problem with their character despite blowing a two-goal lead to lose 4-3 at Bournemouth courtesy of a last-gasp Nathan Ake winner.

The Reds seemed to be coasting to a victory which would have taken them to within a point of Premier League leaders Chelsea as Sadio Mane and Divock Origi put them two goals ahead at half-time.

But Bournemouth rallied as Callum Wilson pulled one back from the spot and, although Emre Can soon re-established Liverpool's two-goal advantage, a frenetic final 14 minutes saw the hosts snatch their first win over Liverpool.

Substitute Ryan Fraser, who had won the Cherries a penalty moments after coming on, smashed home before crossing in for Simon Cook to equalise in style - and then Ake bundled home a stoppage-time winner which would have made his parent club Chelsea almost as happy as Eddie Howe and his players.

Liverpool had not conceded in 351 minutes until Wilson's penalty saw the start of an impressive comeback, as the visitors missed the presence of the injured Joel Matip at the heart of their defence.

Goalkeeper Loris Karius also came in for criticism, most notably from former Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher - but Klopp said after the game he could not question the attitude of his players.

"We have no attitude or character problem," he said.

"No one is born a winner. Not in the first two or three months. You have to learn it. Last year there was a lot of criticism and we managed to change, and tried to be much better."

The German, who saw his side's 15-game unbeaten run come to an unexpected end, also refused to get angry with his squad.

"I'm not angry," he said.

"I was angry during the game a few times, but I saw that my boys didn't want to do the wrong thing, but they did and lost the momentum in the game, and it's not simple to come back.

"That's why you have to keep momentum all the time you can. I cannot change it. So why should I be angry?"

Climb

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe certainly was not cross at his side as they sealed a remarkable comeback at the Vitality Stadium to climb into the top half of the table.

Howe took charge of his 300th game as manager of the Cherries at Arsenal last week, but a 3-1 defeat meant he could not celebrate.

However, his 301st match at the helm is one that will live long in the memory of the 39-year-old.

"I don't think I'll ever forget this one," he said.

"It was a real contrast of emotions. Right up there with the Everton game last year where we were really poor for the first part and came back for a point (a 3-3 draw).

"At half-time we were in real trouble. Liverpool were excellent. We weren't very good. So that makes the comeback all the more impressive."

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