Liverpool will be looking to get back to winning ways and take a step closer to lifting the Premier League title when they face Bournemouth this weekend.
The past couple of weeks have been difficult for Liverpool. The Reds have lost three of their last four matches in all competitions, starting with the 1-0 defeat to Atletico Madrid in the Champions League followed by a narrow 3-2 win against West Ham United, after which they succumbed to their first defeat in the Premier League against Watford.
Liverpool were then dumped out of the FA Cup by Chelsea in the fifth round earlier this week. And while a maiden Premier League title seems inevitable for the Merseyside at this point given their 22-point lead, manager Jurgen Klopp will be hoping to avoid any more stumbles along the way, starting with a win this weekend.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, find themselves involved in the relegation dogfight. The Cherries are currently 18th in the table, having failed to win their last three Premier League clashes. Most recently, Eddie Howe’s side squandered a great chance to beat Chelsea, eventually getting held to a 2-2 draw.
A win on Saturday afternoon could see Bournemouth jump to the 15th spot in the standings, provided other results go their way. And they will be hoping to make the most of Liverpool’s recent poor run and grab at least a point from their trip to Anfield.
Team News & Tactics
Liverpool have been dealt a major blow heading into the game as first-choice goalkeeper Alisson Becker is ruled out till the next month with a muscular injury. The Reds have suffered in the absence of captain Jordan Henderson and while he is closing in on full fitness, he is likely to be saved for the Champions League clash against Atletico Madrid.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Nathaniel Clyne are still sidelined, but there is some positive news, with Naby Keita returning to training after having recovered from his hip problem.
With Alisson ruled out, Adrian should continue in goal and look to recover from a sloppy performance in the cup tie against Chelsea. Trent Alexander-Arnold ought to return at right-back, while the rest of the backline should remain intact with Joe Gomez, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson all expected to start.
Fabinho has been poor in the last two games for Liverpool and will need to bounce back strongly in the absence of Jordan Henderson. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Georginio Wijnaldum are set to return to the side in midfield, having not started in the last game against Chelsea.
Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah are also set to start after featuring as substitutes in midweek. Sadio Mane will complete the attacking trident for Liverpool when Bournemouth come visiting.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Adrian; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Bournemouth will be without as many as six first-team players for their trip to Anfield. Howe will be unable to call upon the services of Chris Mepham, David Brooks, Charlie Daniels and Arnaut Danjuma Groeneveld due to injuries, while Lloyd Kelly is a major doubt. On-loan winger Harry Wilson is ruled out as he is ineligible to feature against his parent club.
Howe has switched to a 4-3-3 formation in recent fixtures and is likely to stick with the same shape when Bournemouth visit Liverpool. There are unlikely to be any changes made to the team that almost defeated Chelsea last weekend.
Aaron Ramsdale is a guaranteed starter between the sticks for the Cherries while Jack Stacey and Adam Smith ought to continue as the full-backs on the right and left sides, respectively. Steve Cook will partner Nathan Ake at the heart of the defence for Bournemouth.
Jefferson Lerma was on the scoresheet against Chelsea last time out and should start at the base of the three-man midfield on Saturday. Partnering him in the middle should be Philip Billing and Lewis Cook ahead of more experienced options like Andrew Surman and Dan Gosling.
The attacking trident, too, should remain unchanged as Ryan Fraser and Joshua King will be charged with providing the width while Callum Wilson will operate as the centre-forward.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Ramsdale; Stacey, Steve Cook, Ake, Smith; Billing, Lerma, Lewis Cook; Fraser, Wilson, King
- Liverpool have won their last five Premier League matches against Bournemouth by an aggregate score of 17-0.
- In all competitions, Bournemouth have won just one of their 16 matches against Liverpool (D3 L12), a 4-3 win in December 2016 at the Vitality Stadium.
- Each of Liverpool’s last five Premier League wins against Bournemouth have been by at least three goals – the only team in top-flight history to win by 3+ goals in six consecutive games against an opponent is Manchester City against Wolves between 1902 and 1905.
- Bournemouth are winless in all eight Premier League games on Merseyside against Everton and Liverpool (D1 L7); the only team to play more times without winning there are Hull City (10 games).
- Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 54 Premier League home games (W44 D10), with the Reds winning the last 21 in a row. Victory here will set a new outright record for most consecutive home wins in English top-flight history.
Player to Watch
It will be a momentous occasion for the Egyptian on Saturday as he gears up to make his 100th appearance for Liverpool. Salah has been a huge hit at Anfield since arriving from AS Roma in 2017, having already plundered 69 goals in 99 matches so far.
Salah has scored 15 goals in the Premier League this term, 13 of which have come at home. The 27-year-old enjoys a brilliant record against Bournemouth, having netted in all of his five Premier League appearances against the Cherries (7 goals). With the race for the Golden Boot heating up, the Liverpool superstar will be hoping to score a goal or two on Saturday.
Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth
Liverpool head into the weekend game on the back of some disappointing results and will be extra motivated to get back to winning ways. Bournemouth, on the other hand, are winless in their last three and despite there being a lot of positives against Chelsea last weekend, they will have their task cut out when they visit Anfield this weekend.
Liverpool are on an unbeaten run of 54 Premier League games at home and have enjoyed comfortable victories against the Cherries in their previous five meetings in the top-flight. And we at The Hard Tackle are predicting Jurgen Klopp & co. to extend that record on Saturday with a 2-0 victory.