The early kick off on Sunday features Bournemouth and Liverpool, two teams with different aspirations this season. The home side will be hoping to consolidate themselves in the Premier League, keeping clear of the relegation battle and giving their young squad another season of experience in the top flight. Meanwhile, the visitors have higher aims this season, with a title challenge a possibility. That said, a top four finish would still mark a great season and a return to the Champions League, which is where the club and Jurgen Klopp want to be competing.
Last weekend, Bournemouth showed that they can compete with the best in this league with a battling defeat away to Arsenal. They were unlucky not to take something away from the game as they were certainly giving as good as they got. Eddie Howe has a philosophy and he doesn’t move away from it, even if the odds are stacked against his side. He deserves to be applauded for that and if he sticks to his ideals again on Sunday, this match will be a great one for the neutral.
Liverpool have been excellent this season and it is obvious that the players have taken to Klopp’s style of play. It is high intensity and requires a lot of running from the players, but they are getting their rewards with the results that they are achieving. The Reds have lost only once all season and the momentum is building at the club. During the week, they reached the EFL Cup semi-final and a lot of their squad players impressed. The future looks bright at Anfield.
Bournemouth have only won one of their last five league matches, but their performance last weekend showed that this wasn’t a side suffering with a lack of confidence. They are currently in 12th position, which represents a good start for Howe’s men, but they will have aspirations of breaking into the top half. In order to do so, they will need to improve their attack, with the Cherries scoring only three in their last five matches.
Liverpool are in superb form, having won four of their last five matches in the league. Last weekend was a significant mental victory for the Reds as they managed to beat a Sunderland side that was only focused on defending. Their attack has been superb, scoring 14 goals in their last five and it will be difficult for Bournemouth to stop Liverpool from scoring this weekend.
Jack Wilshere will be back for Bournemouth after being ineligible for the match against his parent club Arsenal last weekend. I expect him to come into the midfield and Josh King to move to the wing. Bournemouth may look to use their pace to target Liverpool’s defence, especially down the left hand side.
Liverpool will miss Philippe Coutinho, but it could provide an opportunity to Daniel Sturridge, who has only played a minor role this season. Gini Wijnaldum is another Liverpool player who has a good chance to impress in the absence of Adam Lallana.
Andrew Surman and Artur Boruc could both return for the Cherries this weekend after resuming first team training. Charlie Daniels and Junior Stanislas could both be in line to feature after knocks. Lewis Cook won’t be available for the home side.
Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge are likely to be available despite both suffering with calf knocks. Adam Lallana won’t be back until later this month, while Philippe Coutinho is going to be missing until 2017.
I expect a great game of attacking football, with both sides going for it and it will be interesting to see how Liverpool’s defence holds up against a side that is looking to attack them. I do expect plenty of goals, but Liverpool should have enough to take the three points, even without the influential Philippe Coutinho. It will provide a good opportunity for others in the squad to step up and I expect Daniel Sturridge will play a prominent role over the coming weeks.
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