Liverpool will welcome Eddie Howe’s AFC Bournemouth to the Anfield on Saturday, as the attention shifts back to the Premier League.
After a successful outing in Europe during the midweek, Liverpool will return to action in the Premier League as they gear up to take on Bournemouth this weekend.
Jurgen Klopp’s men beat Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad to progress to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League and will come into the weekend’s game high on confidence, despite having drawn their last league game against Everton. Liverpool will be hoping to reduce the four-point gap between themselves and second-placed Manchester United.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, will go to Anfield after having played out two consecutive 2-2 draws against Watford and Crystal Palace in the Premier League. The Cherries currently occupy the eleventh spot in the league standings and will be hoping to break into the top half of the table with an upset win against the Merseysiders.
Team News & Tactics
Klopp will once again be without the services of midfielders Emre Can (back) and Adam Lallana (hamstring), both of whom are expected to return in May. Nathaniel Clyne and Ragnar Klavan are the latest additions to the injury-list for Liverpool.
Joe Gomez is close to a return but Saturday’s game will be too soon for him while fellow defender Joel Matip has been ruled out of the season. Captain Jordan Henderson missed the European encounter due to suspension but will be eligible for selection for Saturday.
Loris Karius has continued to repay the faith Klopp has shown in him since the turn of the year and should start between the sticks once again. Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Roberston have been excellent in recent weeks as well and will continue as the full-backs for the Reds, with Dejan Lovren and Virgil van Dijk holding fort in the heart of the defence.
Henderson will be reinstated into the starting line-up straightaway, with the captain set to take up the deepest slot in the midfield and try to dictate the flow of the game. Support will be provided by January signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum, both of whom will have the license to make forward runs from the centre.
Mohamed Salah has been unstoppable and is a guaranteed starter on the right-flank for the Reds when fit and available. On the opposite side, Sadio Mane will be a menace for the Cherries with his pace and drive while Roberto Firmino will start through the centre.
Probable Starting XI (4-3-3): Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Roberston; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane;
Howe will be hoping to have former Liverpool winger Jordon Ibe available for the game, after he missed out last weekend due to illness. Defender Tyrone Mings has returned to training, but is unlikely to be involved on Saturday. Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas continue to remain absent for the Cherries,
Former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic is expected to continue between the sticks for the visitors at Anfield. He will be shielded by a back four comprising of captain Simon Francis and Charlie Daniels as the full-backs on the right and left sides respectively, with Steve Cook and Nathan Ake lining up in the centre. The defence will be in for a stern test from the Reds’ brilliant attacking trio.
Ryan Fraser is expected to start on the right-flank amid concerns over Ibe’s availability while Marc Pugh will slot in on the opposite wing. The duo will be tasked with creating chances for their strikers from the wide areas, while the central midfield duo of Lewis Cook and Dan Gosling will be responsible to break Liverpool’s rhythm in the middle.
Joshua King was a surprise exclusion from the starting lineup for Bournemouth’s last game and in all likelihood will return to the playing XI at Anfield this weekend. The Norwegian has scored three in his last five games and will carry a big threat going forward. And operating in front of him will be veteran English striker Jermain Defoe.
Probable Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Francis, S Cook, Ake, Daniels; Fraser, L Cook, Gosling, Pugh; King; Defoe;
- Liverpool have scored at least 2 goals in their last 7 home matches in the Premier League. The Reds have scored 75 goals in the league this season. Only leaders Manchester City have netted more (90).
- Liverpool are undefeated in their last 18 home matches in the English top-flight (W11, D7), which is the longest current streak in the division, and the Reds’ longest run since a 31-game sequence ended in 2009.
- Meanwhile, Bournemouth have failed to win 9 of their 10 matches on the road, in the league.
- However, the Cherries have won a league-high 18 points from losing positions in the Premier League, including five from the last three in the competition.
- Liverpool have won three of their five previous Premier League meetings with Bournemouth (D1, L1), including a 4-0 victory in the reverse fixture in December.
1. Bournemouth Asian Handicap +2.0 @ 1.800
2. Under 3.5 Match Goals @ 1.80
1. James Milner to score anytime @ 4.75
Player to watch
Mohamed Salah (Liverpool)
The Egyptian forward has been on fire this season and all eyes will once again be on him when he takes the field against Bournemouth on Saturday. Salah is only one goal away from becoming the eighth different player to score at least 30 goals in a single Premier League season. He would also become the first African player to achieve the feat.
The 25-year old has scored 17 Premier League goals this season at Anfield. Expect him to do more damage as he chases the Golden Boot award.
Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth
Liverpool’s morale will be sky high after their exploits in Europe against Manchester City and the form that they have displayed in recent weeks could spell bad omen for Bournemouth. The Cherries have mounted excellent comebacks in a few games recently, but that is unlikely to happen on Saturday and we at the Hard Tackle expect a straightforward 2-0 win for the home team.