Liverpool vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Reds look to complete double over the Cherries

Liverpool vs AFC Bournemouth Preview: Reds look to complete double over the Cherries

When Bournemouth face Liverpool on Saturday, the Reds will have the opportunity to do what the Cherries did to them last season- complete the double over them.

Kaustubh Pandey

Liverpool will host Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth at the Anfield Stadium in Liverpool on Saturday afternoon in a game that the Reds have to win to remain third and to stand a chance of catching Manchester United in the Premier League table.

Bournemouth were unbeaten against Jurgen Klopp’s men in both the fixtures last season as the tie at Vitality Stadium yielded them a thrilling 4-3 win and they held Liverpool to a 2-2 draw at Anfield.

The Cherries have already lost to Klopp’s men this season as they were beaten 4-0 at home back in December.

Liverpool look to keep the pressure on

Recent times and results will make every Liverpool fan proud of the club. They advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League in terrific fashion by eliminating Manchester City and are now set to face Italian giants Roma in the next round.

While the goalless draw at Everton was a disappointment, they would want to keep the progress going in the Premier League.

Third in the league behind the two Manchester clubs, Liverpool are level on points with fourth-placed Spurs, who have a game in hand on them but play Manchester City later tomorrow.

A win would be essential for the Reds if they want to stay third. If Spurs do beat City, Liverpool can’t afford to drop points.

The last time the Reds lost a game was against Manchester United at Old Trafford and that’s the only the second game that they have lost in their last ten games, with the loss at Swansea City being another one.

They haven’t lost a single home game this season and they will head into the Bournemouth game with some confidence.

The form of Mohamed Salah has been well documented and much talked about, but Roberto Firmino has found the back of the net 14 times this season, with Salah scoring 28 times. Rightly so, they have scored the second most number of goals this season - netting 75 times already.

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Cherries want to steer further away from relegation

Bournemouth’s form since the turn of the year has played a vital role in taking them well above the dreaded red zone. The start to the season made everyone feel that the Cherries could be top candidates to go down, but they have proved critics wrong not for the first time.

Currently 11th in the league, Bournemouth have done well to climb well above the relegation zone despite making a poor start to the campaign. Their 2-2 draw at Crystal Palace last week was an indication of the never say die spirit that the club has and can ignite it even when things aren’t going right.

Howe’s men have lost only one out of their last five games and that was a 4-1 mauling at the hands of Spurs.

They have the fifth worst defensive record in the league, having let in 53 goals; a record that Liverpool will look at closely in an attempt to exploit it.

When it comes to goalscoring, Bournemouth are the ninth-best and the goals of Joshua King, Callum Wilson and Junior Stanislas have been very important for the club.

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Key absences for both sides

Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp did confirm the unavailability of Emre Can, who is nursing a back injury and won’t be available until May.

Joel Matip and Adam Lallana remain out as they nurse their thigh and ankle injuries respectively. Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are doubts owing to groin and neck problems but could feature against the Cherries.

As far as Eddie Howe’s men are concerned, Stanislas is out due to a knee injury that he will recover from in May, while Adam Smith is suffering from an MCL problem.

Jordon Ibe is a doubt to feature against his former club due to illness.

Predicted line-ups

Liverpool: Karius; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, Van Dijk, Robertson; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Henderson, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane

Bournemouth: Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels; King, Surman, Cook, Gosling, Fraser, Wilson