Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
| Saturday, March 7th |
Premier League | Anfield
12:30PM GMT / 7:30AM EST
Liverpool have seen off AFC Bournemouth by more than three goals in every one of their last five fixtures. If there was a team Jürgen Klopp would pick to get his team’s motor going it might be Eddie Howe’s unfortunate crew.
Bournemouth have floundered in the Premier League this season. It’s been a battle for Howe to stay competitive nearly from the get-go and his team have finally dropped into dangerous territory. Bournemouth are now in the relegation zone behind Watford on goal differential thanks to Liverpool giving the Hornets a helpful boost last weekend.
Bournemouth have had a big problem with injuries all season but the recent recovery of defender Lloyd Kelly could be well timed to give Howe’s XI more solidity at the back.
What Bournemouth won’t have is loanee Harry Wilson, who is unavailable due to allegiances with Liverpool.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Adrián; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Firmino, Mané
Jordan Henderson remains out. And Xherdan Shaqiri may work in the Melwood kitchen now for all we know. He’s also unavailable.
Alisson, unfortunately, has a muscle injury and so Adrián will continue in goal.
Klopp’s midfield wasn’t what it needed to be against Watford. But you can go back to the middle of February to find Liverpool losing their edge. The 0-1 away win at Norwich City wasn’t too fun. And don’t forget about the 3-2 at Anfield against West Ham when Liverpool were put in a losing position by David Moyes’ team just after halftime. That was a narrow escape.
This match with Bournemouth is a fine opportunity to ease the tension after a run of poor results. Losses to Atlético Madrid and Watford and Chelsea have allowed a little doubt to grow among some supporters concerning Liverpool’s ability to control their destiny and win the Premier League this season.
But there’s a 22-point difference between the Reds and Manchester City in second. That’s a big gap to span with only 10 games left to play. And there’s no reason to expect Liverpool are just going to bottom out. A few lackluster displays are inevitable.
Speaking of lackluster displays, Dejan Lovren underperformed against Watford. Then Joe Gomez got the nod at Chelsea. Is it Joël Matip time? Otherwise, the defense picks itself.
The forward positions shouldn’t have any surprises either. This is a must win for the feels and Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mané are very likely to start.
I also expect Fabinho to remain in the team and Gini Wijnaldum to return. But that leaves James Milner, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the third position.
If the manager is looking for leadership with yelling he’ll go with Milly.
What the Managers Said
Jürgen Klopp: “We have to fight back.”
Eddie Howe: “Anything other than our absolute best in this game is not going to be good enough.”
Referee: Paul Tierney
Assistant referees: Stuart Burt, Constantine Hatzidakis
Fourth official: Mike Dean
VAR: Michael Oliver
Assistant VAR: Andy Halliday
Kickoff is set for 12:30PM GMT/7:30AM 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.