Liverpool make the trek to the south coast on Saturday as a very busy run of matches continues when they take on Bournemouth in the Premier League.
Group EPL Vitality Stadium, Dorset, England
Key Stat: Bournemouth have never kept a clean sheet against the Reds in nine prior matches.
Expert Verdict: When these sides have met in recent times, goals have poured in abundantly, with the Reds scoring them in bunches. They have struggled to put away their chances, though, so this could be the time the Cherries feel they can turn the tide… if only their form wasn’t so awful. The hosts haven't been playing well at all, despite their win over Huddersfield, after a strong start to the season, and it’s hard to see them being able to sustain a challenge for an entire 90 minutes.
Eddie Howe only has a couple of injury worries at the moment, with both midfielder Dan Gosling and full back Adam Smith set to miss out on the action.
One of the men that has ran Liverpool ragged over the years has been Ryan Fraser, and the winger has to be one of the men they turn to at the Vitality if they are to succeed against such a valiant defence. He finds himself in good form, too, having scored and assisted at home in the win over Huddersfield on Tuesday. The goalkeeper will also be a major factor here, and that will be Asmir Begovic. The Bosnian will need a Hart-like showing and a little bit of luck, though, to keep the Reds out and grab an unlikely point.
Bournemouth have a win and four losses in their last five matches:
2-1 home win vs Huddersfield
3-1 loss at Manchester City
1-2 home loss vs Arsenal
2-1 loss at Newcastle
1-2 home loss vs Manchester United
Defenders:Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels
Midfielders:Brooks, Cook, Lerma, Fraser
Jurgen Klopp has a fresh injury worry in the form of Joe Gomez to worry about, adding to the list of Dominic Solanke, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Adam Lallana. Left back Andy Robertson and winger Sadio Mane will also be doubts to play yet again, especially with a tie against Napoli looming.
Mo Salah once again looks like he is bursting back into form of late, slowly but surely. The Egyptian came off the bench after the hour mark on Wednesday and proved a telling difference with an assist to Xherdan Shaqiri that shows he is kicking into form. Shaqiri, meanwhile, continues to make the Reds tick over. Whether he is dropping deep to collect the ball or running in behind, the Swiss has been the signing of the season for the Reds and will look to score yet again against the Cherries.
Liverpool have four wins and a loss in their last five matches:
1-3 win at Burnley
1-0 home win vs Everton
2-1 loss at PSG (UCL)
0-3 win at Watford
2-0 home win vs Fulham
Defenders:Alexander-Arnold, Matip, van Dijk, Milner
Midfielders:Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Henderson
Forwards:Shaqiri, Salah, Firmino
Bournemouth have met Liverpool nine times before, and so far they have not had much success, winning and drawing once and losing seven times. Here's a look at the last five results:
Apr 14, 2018: Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
Dec 17, 2017: Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool
Apr 5, 2017: Liverpool 2-2 Bournemouth
Dec 4, 2016: Bournemouth 4-3 Liverpool
Apr 17, 2016: Bournemouth 1-2 Liverpool
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Bournemouth are at 15/4 to win, a draw is at 3/1, and a Liverpool win is at 4/6.
Bournemouth will begin the weekend’s round of fixtures in seventh place after breaking their run of losses with their win on Tuesday. The Cherries are on 23 points, a full eight off the pace of fifth placed Arsenal, but they are still level with Manchester United, much to everyone’s surprise. Their win will be what they hope is the catalyst for another good run of form, but hosting Liverpool is always tricky. The Reds, meanwhile, are still in second and hunting down Manchester City at the top. The Reds are still unbeaten in the Premier League and got to rest some players for a little while in their win over Burnley. They are still two points back of the Citizens, and deep down they know they can’t drop anything in order to have a chance to win the illusive crown.
At home this season, Bournemouth have been very good for the most part. The Cherries have collected four wins and two draws in eight matches, but they have ran into hard times of late with only one win coming in the last four matches and two defeats in that time. Both defeats came against ‘bigger’ sides in Arsenal and Manchester United, too, so hosting Liverpool might not be the thing to fix that run. Speaking of the Reds, their away from remains brilliant. Through eight matches, they have only dropped points twice, with both those coming in their last five away excursions. However, those were at the hands of Chelsea and Arsenal, so forgiveness can be extended a little.
No for both teams scoring, at Ladbrokes, is at 5/4.
Betfair has Shaqiri scoring anytime at 2.6 odds.
Liverpool aren’t running rampant as they might have wanted to be at this stage of the season, but they are still in the title race and know that they have to win in order to sustain it. They do on the south coast with a battling yet comfortable victory.