Liverpool start a busy December month with an away trip to AFC Bournemouth on Sunday, a game which could present Jürgen Klopp’s men with a chance to return to the top of the table.
The Reds are set to play six fixtures over the festive period, culminating with the big game against Manchester City on New Years Eve. But for now, all eyes are on the Vitality Stadium.
Match: AFC Bournemouth vs Liverpool
Venue: Dean Court (Vitality Stadium)
Date: Sunday 4th December
Time: 13:30 BST
Referee: Bobby Madley
Few teams in the league can rival Liverpool’s form at the moment, with the Reds unbeaten in over three months of football, a run that stretches back to that 2-0 defeat at Burnley in the second week of the season. That run includes all competitions, as Liverpool’s last game saw them beat Leeds United 2-0 to set up a League Cup semi-final tie against Southampton.
However, it’s in the league where they’ve been really impressive of late, taking on challenge after challenge in order to keep up with Chelsea and Manchester City at the top of the league. Having responded to a draw against Manchester United by beating West Brom, Crystal Palace and Watford, the Reds did only manage a 0-0 draw at Southampton after coming back from the November international break, but put that to bed by beating Sunderland 2-0 at Anfield last weekend, James Milner’s late penalty adding to Divock Origi’s opener.
Klopp’s team currently lie just a point off Chelsea, who are top, and are ahead of 3rd placed Manchester City on goal difference. With those two teams playing each other early on Saturday, a draw or City win would allow Liverpool the opportunity to take back their place at the top of the tree.
However, Bournemouth will think that it’s a little too early in the festive period to present Liverpool with any gifts, even though Eddie Howe’s men are less likely to park the bus than some sides around them in the division.
The Cherries have struggled of late, losing three of their last four, despite putting in a credible performance at Arsenal last weekend. However, before that run they hammered Hull City 6-1 at home, before claiming a solid home point against Tottenham Hotspur, evidencing that three points can’t be taken for granted by Liverpool.
Bournemouth currently find themselves 12th in the league, so will be bidding to move into the top half by the end of the weekend.
After a relatively injury-free period for Liverpool it’s all come crashing down again in the past week or so, none more than when Philippe Coutinho was stretchered off against Sunderland with an ankle problem that will see him miss over a month.
Daniel Sturridge seems like Coutinho’s most obvious replacement in the side, but he’s struggling with a knock too, meaning Divock Origi is likely to start up front after scoring two in his last two. Roberto Firmino too is a doubt, whilst Adam Lallana is reportedly 50/50 to recover from the groin injury that’s seen him miss the Reds’ last three.
There is likely to be some continuity in the defence thanks to no new problems being picked up in that area, as Loris Karius and co look to collect their fourth straight clean sheet.
Jordon Ibe will hope to start for Bournemouth as he faces his old team for the first time since leaving in the summer, especially given that fellow winger Junior Stanislas is doubtful for the game.
Eddie Howe does have concerns over some of his other first team players, with Charlie Daniels, Lewis Cook, Artur Boruc and Andrew Surman all struggling for fitness ahead of Sunday’s clash.
Liverpool Predicted XI (4-3-3): Karius; Clyne, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Henderson, Can, Wijnaldum; Firmino, Mane, Origi.
Bournemouth Predicted XI (4-2-3-1): Federici; Smith, Ake, Cook, Mings; Arter, Gosling; Ibe, King, Smith; Wilson.
WHEN THEY LAST MET
Liverpool’s away fixture at Bournemouth last season was something of a comedown after the epic 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund just days earlier. However, Klopp’s Reds kept confidence high with a 2-1 win, goals from Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge sealing all three points.
Earlier in the season the two teams met at Anfield on Matchday Two, Christian Benteke scoring the only goal of the game with his first strike for Liverpool.
- With nine goals, Callum Wilson is Bournemouth’s all time leading Premier League goalscorer
- Bournemouth have never beaten Liverpool
- After scoring last week, James Milner made it 45 unbeaten games in the Premier League after scoring a goal
- Last season’s 2-1 result was the only Liverpool game where Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge have both found the net
PREDICTION: BOURNEMOUTH 1-3 LIVERPOOL
Funny feeling that the Reds will again do the business this week, hopefully capitalising on dropped points from the Chelsea vs City game. Bournemouth were wasteful against Arsenal so will feel confident of scoring, but Origi’s form should give us enough of an outlet to win the game. Fancy Firmino to get on the scoresheet as it’s been a few games for him, whilst Mane could really do with bagging one to re-discover some form.