Liverpool will be aiming to wrestle back the top spot in the Premier League table, when they face off against Bournemouth at home this weekend.
After seeing Manchester City climb back to the summit of the Premier League standings, Liverpool will be gunning to reclaim the pole position when they go head to head against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth on Saturday at Anfield.
Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw last time out by West Ham United on Monday night, which allowed the Cityzens to move into the top spot, courtesy of their 0-2 victory over Everton on Wednesday night. The two teams are level on points, with the reigning champions ahead of goal difference.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will be under pressure to not drop any points when they welcome the Cherries at home this weekend and should take confidence from the fact that they had beaten them 4-0 in the reverse fixture earlier this season.
After registering impressive victories against West Ham United and Chelsea, Bournemouth succumbed to a shock 0-2 defeat to relegation battlers Cardiff City this past weekend. Following that result, Eddie Howe’s men are stationed in the tenth place in the table, with 33 points from 25 matches.
While they did manage to thrash Chelsea last month, their record against the big six hasn’t been all that great this season, as they have tasted defeat in every other contest that they have been against the top six sides in the league. Add to that, their away form of late has been underwhelming as well, making the trip to Anfield a daunting prospect.
Team News & Tactics
Liverpool have been handed a triple injury boost as midfielders Jordan Henderson, Georginio Wijnaldum and right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are all back in training, having recovered from their respective injury problems. Dejan Lovren and Joe Gomez remain sidelined though, along with Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Klopp is expected to make a number of alterations to the eleven that failed to beat the Hammers on Monday, starting from the defence, with Alexander-Arnold set to walk back in at right-back. The rest of the backline is expected to remain intact, while Alisson is the undisputed starter in goal.
There will be changes in the middle of the park as well, with Naby Keita likely to be dropped after a string of poor performances against Crystal Palace, Leicester City and West Ham United.
James Milner should be moved into the middle of the park, after featuring as the right-back in his last two appearances. The now-fit duo of Henderson and Wijnaldum are also in line to be reinstated, with Adam Lallana and Fabinho making way.
The attacking trident of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane is expected to stay untouched, however, but Klopp will be demanding serious improvements from them after a couple of lacklustre displays.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Henderson, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Mane;
On-loan Liverpool right-back Nathaniel Clyne is ineligible to play for the Cherries against his parent club. David Brooks and Callum Wilson are still on the treatment tables, which will come as a big blow for Howe, while Lewis Cook and Simon Francis are out for the season.
No major tweaks are expected from Howe, despite his team getting beaten by Cardiff City last time out. Artur Boruc should continue in goal, having displaced Asmir Begovic as the first-choice. Adam Smith will move to right-back in Clyne’s absence, paving way for Charlie Daniels’ return at left-back. Steve Cook and Nathan Ake should start at the heart of the defence.
There are no changes expected in the four-man midfield for the visitors, with Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling starting in the centre, flanked by Junior Stanislas and Ryan Fraser, who will be tasked with providing the attacking threat from the wide areas.
Josh King, who scored twice in the win against Chelsea, should continue to operate as the secondary striker, with Dominic Solanke set to lead the line against his former club, having made the switch to Bournemouth in January.
Probable Lineup (4-4-1-1): Boruc; Smith, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Stanislas, Surman, Gosling, Fraser; King; Solanke;
1. Bournemouth Asian Handicap + 2.5 @ 1.575
2. Liverpool Clean Sheet – NO @ 1.90
1. Under 2.5 Match Goals @ 3.00
- Liverpool are unbeaten against Bournemouth at Anfield, registering five wins and a draw in all competitions.
- Bournemouth’s solitary victory in 14 attempts against Liverpool was a 4-3 Premier League triumph at home in December 2016.
- Liverpool are on a club Premier League record run of 33 consecutive home matches without defeat. They have won eight of their past nine league games at Anfield.
- The Cherries have lost seven Premier League away games in a row, conceding at least twice in each match. The last top-flight team to lose eight in a row while conceding at least twice were Portsmouth in February 2006.
- Mohamed Salah has scored five goals in three league appearances against Bournemouth, including a hat-trick in this season’s reverse fixture.
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The 20-year-old’s injury has had a negative impact on Liverpool’s title challenge, with Klopp struggling to replace the youngster at right-back, as Joe Gomez has also been out with an injury, while the club decided to loan Nathaniel Clyne out.
In the three games that Alexander-Arnold missed, Liverpool came ever so close to a defeat against Crystal Palace, but managed to come away with three points while they ended up dropping points against Leicester and West Ham. James Milner and Jordan Henderson were asked to fill in at right-back in those matches and neither were able to do justice, leaving Liverpool exposed.
So, Alexander-Arnold’s return to fitness comes as a timely boost for the Reds. The 20-year-old has featured in 17 league games this term, scoring one and setting up three more. His presence on Saturday should certainly help Liverpool in both halves of the pitch.
Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth
Things haven’t been going all too well for Liverpool, as they have won just two of their last six matches in all competitions. Back-to-back draws against Leicester and West Ham have thrown a dent in their title challenge, allowing Manchester City to close down the gap and go on top again.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have been struggling on the road, having lost all seven of their previous away games. While the win against Chelsea did showcase their attacking capabilities, the fact that they crumbled to defeat against a relegation battling Cardiff City side last weekend highlighted their lack of consistency.
Liverpool are in desperate need of all three points and will walk out at Anfield determined to return to set things right after a couple of missteps in their last matches. And as a result, we at The Hard Tackle, expect the Merseysiders to bag a comfortable victory on Saturday afternoon.