Bournemouth vs. Liverpool
| Saturday, December 7th |
Premier League | Vitality Stadium
3:00PM BST / 10:00AM EST
The busy season of fixtures is well and truly upon us. It feels like Liverpool just destroyed Everton at Anfield and already we’re gearing up for another match against AFC Bournemouth. Jürgen Klopp made several changes for Wednesday’s victory over the Blues but this away match against Eddie Howe’s team could see Liverpool’s heavy hitters return to the squad.
That being said, there’s also the Champions League away leg to Red Bull Salzburg on Tuesday next week. With qualification to the Round of 16 at stake, Klopp could choose to save a few of his tried and true heroes on Saturday and have them fresh for the Austrian club.
Fabinho is out injured. Jordan Henderson should be included in the midfield since being rested midweek. Naby Keita is ready for action. And I expect to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain start the match, although he could be positioned in a more forward role. I can see Klopp leaving Sadio Mané on the bench for this one, with an eye on Salzburg. We can’t have Sadio breaking down.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Wijnaldum, Keita; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Salah, Firmino
Bournemouth are currently in 14th place in the Premier League, two points above relegation zone toppers, Everton. Since beating Manchester United at the beginning of November, the Cherries have lost 4 matches in a row. Newcastle, Wolves, Spurs, and Crystal Palace have all taken maximum points from Howe’s team.
Now Liverpool are coming to town and the Reds have won each of their last 4 visits to the Vitality. Mohamed Salah has scored every time he’s played against Bournemouth.
Liverpool loanee and Bournemouth top-scorer Harry Wilson has been an important source of goals for Bournemouth this season. Unfortunately, for Eddie Howe the young Welshman won’t be included against his parent club on Saturday. Still, Callum Wilson will be doing his best to cause Liverpool’s defense some problems.
Howe will also be without striker Joshua King, defender Steve Cook, and right back Adam Smith.
This match would have all the signs of a guaranteed win, if there were such a thing. At his pre-match press conference Klopp said that there were no new injury concerns in the squad but rotation will be the key to ensuring that is the case throughout the busy festive period. The Liverpool manager’s midweek lineup was likely the start of a reliance on the full squad and not a one-off.
Another win would put Liverpool ever further ahead of their Premier League title rivals. Manchester City face a potentially points-dropping derby with United. Leicester City are away to 16th place Aston Villa but the Villans have been decent at home and while it’s a long shot for Brendan Rodgers team to drop points in Birmingham, I’m saying there’s a chance.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “Bournemouth will be really demanding. They will ask for everything. We have to be spot on and intense.”
Eddie Howe: “We can’t have any negative feelings or emotions and, in some respects, our recent results will hopefully galvanise the club and bring everybody closer together and that’s desperately important.”
Referee: Chris Kavanagh
Assistant referees: Sian Massey-Ellis, Simon Long
Fourth official: James Linington
VAR: Jonathan Moss
Assistant VAR: Scott Ledger
Kickoff is set for 3:00PM BST/10:00AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV.
In the meantime, and as always, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.