Liverpool v Bournemouth Preview - Can Liverpool stop their dip in form this Saturday?
Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Anthony Taylor
Date & Time – Saturday, February 9th @ 15:00
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/5, Draw 6/1, Bournemouth 11/1
Okay, so now is the time to get behind The Reds. It’s easy to ‘support’ a team through a winning run or the kind of incredible record-breaking form – 62 points from a possible 75, a 76% Premier League win-rate – but when a dip in form comes about we need to be that twelfth man. By the way, how good have Liverpool been this season that a run of two draws is seen as a dip in form?
Jurgen Klopp’s over-performing Reds have been defeated once in 25 league games and that was at the home of the team many of us consider the best Premier League team which has ever graced the top tier of English football.
Liverpool are trying to achieve something we previously would have believed to be nigh-on impossible. After eight wins from eight games in December, Liverpool’s injury-list has lengthened with the defence and midfield areas taking the heaviest hit.
February is a huge month for Liverpool FC and the games are just going to get bigger from here.
Bournemouth have been up and down with their form recently. Poor performances like their 2-0 defeat at lowly Cardiff City last week have been counter-acted with wins like the fantastic 4-0 hammering of Chelsea and the 2-0 home win against West Ham United.
The Cherries also visited Merseyside last month when they lost 2-0 to Everton at Goodison Park.
Liverpool Team News
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are both out of action for the foreseeable future. ‘The Ox’ isn’t expected back until April while it’s hoped that Gomez’s surgery to his lower-leg fracture could, in fact, speed up his recovery but we’re still possibly looking at some time in March for the young defender’s return.
Trent Alexander-Arnold, Jordan Henderson, Dejan Lovren and Gini Wijnaldum will all face fitness tests later this week to determine if they can play any part against Bournemouth.
With these injuries to key defenders and midfielders, it looks like Klopp will have no choice but to stick with his 4-3-3 shape.
Joel Matip should partner Virgil van Dijk in central defence and I’m hoping Naby Keita gets another start under his belt as well. Keita was one of Liverpool’s best players in the second half at West Ham and gave us some glimpses of his line-breaking ability as he looked to create a winner for The Reds at London Stadium on Monday night.
Bournemouth Team News
Nathaniel Clyne will have to sit this one out as he is only on loan at Bournemouth from Liverpool. However, Dominic Solanke is expected to start up front for The Cherries as he returns to Anfield for the first time since his move south last month.
Eddie Howe will most likely go with the 4-4-1-1 formation with Joshua King dropping into the ’10’ role in place of the injured Welsh wizard, David Brooks.
Simon Francis and Lewis Cook won’t be back in full training until June as they both recover from anterior cruciate ligament injuries.
Callum Wilson has a knee injury and won’t be available for selection until later this month.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk(c), Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Bournemouth XI (4-4-1-1) – Boruc; Smith, Cook, Aké, Daniels; Stanislas, Lerma, Surman(c), Fraser; King; Solanke
When they last met
Liverpool have won the last three meetings between the sides with 11 goals scored and none conceded. The Reds won 4-0 at the Vitality Stadium this season with a hat-trick from Mohamed Salah and an own-goal by Steve Cook.
In this fixture last season at Anfield, Liverpool won 3-0 with goals from Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Salah.
Liverpool 3 – 1 Bournemouth
2019 hasn’t been a good year for Liverpool so far. Yet, Klopp’s mighty Reds are still well in the hunt for the Premier League title as we near the business end of the season. I think Liverpool will get all three points on Saturday as Bournemouth don’t like to sit back and play with a deep defensive line. The Cherries will come at us and we need to pick them off when they do. Reds to win 3-1.
** Please note – “xGA” in the Form Stats tables symbolises “expected goals against” **
**All xG stats courtesy of Understat.com and FiveThirtyEight.com