Bournemouth's 9-0 defeat at Anfield proved to be a catalyst for their season

A look at “Bournemouth’s 9-0 defeat at Anfield proved to be a catalyst for their season” I am not that surprised given the level here is far greater than we have. I am not making an excuse, some of the goals were our own doing.

“I feel sorry for the fans. I feel sorry for the players because we are ill-equipped at this level. This does not shine a light for me. There are players who are experiencing the Premier League for the first time. I never thought we could get beat 9-0 but I expected a real challenge at certain moments in certain games.

“I can see some more [routs]. We need to make a decision. I have been clear how this season could look for us and I stick by that.

Those were the words of former Bournemouth manager Scott Parker after his side were thrashed 9-0 against Liverpool in just their fourth game back in the Premier League. The summer transfer window hadn’t even closed and the August sun was shining, but Parker was dismissed of his duties a month in. It would prove to be a defining moment in the season for the Cherries.

The defeat at Anfield was humiliating, and while Bournemouth looked a soft touch you would get the feeling that if he had stayed on the South Coast then many other teams would inflict damage on what was a young and inexperienced side.

Admittedly needing some reinforcements, Parker was unhappy with the board, but while Gary O’Neil was initially appointed as a caretaker coach until a permanent successor was found, the former West Ham man ensured his side at least remained consistent. The small tweaks he made, focusing on resilience at the back and making the Vitality Stadium a difficult place for visiting teams to take points, kept Bournemouth afloat in terms of the relegation odds Premier League.

As the winter break approached Bournemouth were perilously close to the relegation zone, but due to the massive fixture congestion several teams around them also struggled to pick up points. At one stage this season anyone from 20th to 13th was in danger of the drop and while the Cherries have played some good stuff, their survival has been defined by other teams capitulating around them. Despite their current status in the league at some point the likes of Aston Villa, Wolves and Crystal Palace were all threatened by relegation, but Bournemouth’s ability to beat the sides around them, while occasionally upsetting the odds, has been key to their success.

The January editions of Dango Ouattara and Hamed Traore show that the Bournemouth board are willing to spend big, it’s just clear they didn’t trust Parker with that responsibility. That extra sprinkling of quality meant the Cherries beat Liverpool in their return fixture on the South Coast, righting the wrongs of the hammering at Anfield, and that extra boost in confidence has seen them stay in the Premier League for next season at least. The Cherries went on to beat Tottenham Hotspur away and a 4-1 win against Leeds United meant they were as high as 14th with three games left, on course to earn one of their best points returns in the top flight at the time of writing.

Overall, O’Neil deserves massive credit for the work he’s done at Bournemouth this term. It’s never easy taking on a side at such an awkward time in the season but with the chance to recruit more of his own players and take the side for pre-season there’s every chance the Cherries can establish themselves as Premier League regulars. However, the sacking of Parker after that Anfield thrashing will be a reminder of how unforgiving and ruthless the managerial gauntlet can be.

Continue to check our website for more articles of this kind. And, please use our comment section as well, we would love to hear from you.