Author Topic: Liverpool v Bournemouth, Premier League, 14/4/2018, 5.30pm  (Read 983 times)

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Liverpool v Bournemouth, Premier League, 14/4/2018, 5.30pm
« on: April 13, 2018, 09:13:47 pm »


Liverpool v Bournemouth
13/4/2018, 5.30pm
Anfield

Preview

So Bournemouth visit Anfield for this Saturday's afternoon kick off.

Sometimes these games can't help but feel like a little "after the Lord Mayor's show". Liverpool are celebrating a memorable Champions League QF win over champions elect Man City, with fans dreaming about our forthcoming SF against Roma in less than 2 weeks. The humdrum of the Saturday league game that follows a memorable European night can feel like a bit of a come down, particularly when you have a game like this where there feels like there's not that much on the line.

That's not to say there's nothing to play for. Liverpool are not guaranteed a top 4 spot yet, though Chelsea's recent poor run and the reds' good form has opened up a gap that will be 7 points at worst and 10 points at best by kick off (Chelsea playing the lunchtime game against relegation threatened Southampton). If Chelsea can cut the gap, and we were to drop silly points in this game, it might create unwelcome uncertainty at a key time of the season. With a trip to Chelsea following a few days after the second leg of the Roma tie, we should be looking to seal top 4 as soon as practicable, if only so that we can rest key players for our European exploits. Let alone that, while we may have bigger fish to fry, we would all want to finish above Spurs and Man Utd if at all possible.

But it's still hard to pretend that this is an important game for Liverpool, and all the less so for Bournemouth. Their remaining fixtures are all in effect dead rubbers, already on 38 points (10 ahead of 18th placed Saints who do have a game in hand) and so with little concern about relegation, and 11 points behind the 7th place finish that looks likely to yield Europa League football next season. We can but hope that their players have an eye on their summer holidays and calling their agents about new contracts or a lucrative move.

Recent record

Whilst I wouldn't go as far as calling Bournemouth a bogey team, we've had some mixed results in the last couple of seasons. Since Bournemouth joined the Premier League there have been 6 meetings:

17 Aug 2015   Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth   W   1-0   Premier League
28 Oct 2015   Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth   W   1-0   League Cup
17 Apr 2016   AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool   W   1-2   Premier League
04 Dec 2016   AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool   L   4-3   Premier League
05 Apr 2017   Liverpool v AFC Bournemouth   D   2-2   Premier League
17 Dec 2017   AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool   W   0-4   Premier League

Our win in August 2015 was a deeply uncomfortable one, our only goal coming from Christian Benteke coming when Coutinho (remember him?) was in an offside position, and with Bournemouth having a goal controversially ruled out. It was to be one of Brendan Rodgers' last few games.

Just two months later we hosted Bournemouth in the League Cup, with Clyne scoring the only goal. A forgettable game, but it was in fact Jurgen Klopp's first win as Liverpool manager after three draws, and a step towards his first and to date only Wembley appearance, the League Cup final against Man City.

Later in the season, we were rotating players heavily as we travelled to the south coast but still managed a win with goals from Bobby and Sturridge. The squad had beaten Dortmund 4-3 just days earlier and our starting XI featured Ward, Randall, Kolo Toure (who was replaced by Sakho, soon to be banned and never return, Lucas at CB, Brad Smith, Ojo, Stewart, Allen, Ibe, Firmino and Sturridge. Man of the match, according to the BBC? Jordan Ibe, now of the Cherries.

The less said about our 4-3 loss on the south coast last season the better. The hosts earned their first ever win against us, coming from 1-3 down to win in stoppage time. Our game management and the performances of certain players, including keeper Loris Karius, were heavily criticised. It's amazing the different a year can make.

We couldn't gain vengeance later in the season either as we chased a Champions League spot that looks even more important now than it did in April 2017. An early Afobe goal saw us respond through Coutihno and Origi, but Josh King's stoppage time leveller was unhelpful as both Man City, Arsenal and Man Utd closed in behind us.

Thankfully this season we were back to winning ways, and emphatically so, with Coutingho, Firmino, Lovren and Salah all scoring in a 4-0 romp at Dean Court.

The Match

Liverpool go into the game with question marks over the fitness of Salah and Firmino, and with Can, Matip, Lallana, Gomez, Clyne and Klavan all out.

Form WWLWWD

Bournemouth have fewer concerns. Former red Jordan Ibe is a doubt due to illness, and Smith , Stanislas and Mings are all on the injury list.

Form DDLWDD

It's hard to predict how we'll line up for this one, but don't be too surprised if we name a strong side, with a chance to edge closer to the top 4 finishing line and still over 10 days before our next European adventure.



So let us hope that we can recapture the spirit of 2015/2016 - a team against who Klopp celebrated the first of many wins as LFC boss, and against whom we delivered a solid win just days after a thrilling European quarter final.