LIVERPOOL VS. BOURNEMOUTH
| Saturday, August 27th |
Premier League | Anfield
3PM GMT/10AM EST
Scott Parker was surprisingly candid and pragmatic (if not defeatist?) when commenting on Bournemouth’s start to the season. The Cherries have lost to Manchester City and Arsenal after winning at Aston Villa on the league’s opening day. When addressing these results, Parker was clear that losses to Arsenal and Manchester City — and, he said explicitly, a loss to Liverpool — would not be unexpected for a newly-promoted side.
As such, he cautioned early judgements on Bournemouth’s readiness for the season.
The Cherries had a midweek game this week, prevailing on penalties against Norwich City in the second round of the EFL Cup, though Parker is doing what most managers do and letting a diverse set of players get experience in the League Cup.
Bournemouth are doing well on the injury front, with former Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke back in training ahead of Saturday’s match (though whether he’ll be up to full fitness is unclear). Jamal Lowe has returned from illness.
Parker will be missing Junior Stanislas (midfielder), Joe Rothwell (midfielder) and Ryan Fredericks (defender) against Liverpool.
Thus far this season, Jefferson Lerma and Kieffer Moore have found themselves on the scoresheet; should he be fit, Solanke would want to add himself to that group, both to start building an impact at Bournemouth and prove something to his former club.
Based on Parker’s comments and the club’s approach thus far, Bournemouth will be pragmatic and expecting Liverpool — currently a wounded animal — to come at them. Liverpool will want to shore up their vulnerability to quick counter attacks.
Notably, though, Bournemouth face Wolverhampton Wanderers on Wednesday. Wolves are without a win thus far this season, and, given Parker’s comments, it’s possible that Bournemouth will be more focused on getting three points from Wolves at home than they are on taking points home from Anfield.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Elliott; Salah, Firmino, Diaz
Liverpool will have no players returning for Bournemouth, so the lineup and bench options remain what they were away at Old Trafford.
Fabio Carvalho has looked bright and will be an option, particularly as he has experience against this Bournemouth side, but Harvey Elliott has been one of the stronger performers thus far this campaign.
The midfield becomes tricky, therefore, as Jordan Henderson tends to be less effective on the left of a midfield three, though you would expect James Milner is due a rest. While the defense is largely set, it is possible that Kostas Tsimikas, who got a run out last time out, might start to give Andy Robertson a rest.
It’s possible that Jürgen Klopp might try to change the formation to better suit the strengths of the players at hand, but the 4-2-3-1 isn’t as suited for the section of the squad that is currently available (in comparison to how it could work with a squad in full fitness), and it might not make sense to change things around to cope with a hopefully short injury crisis when so much isn’t going well in terms of general performance levels.
In his press conference, Klopp emphasized the importance of improving at the level of desire, and of getting a clean sheet. Famously, Liverpool have been not just conceding, but conceding first. Though the Reds had avoided losing on each of these occasions, the loss against Manchester United will hopefully be the end of that worrying trend.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “I am in support of this team but my main job is to put things right. I can learn a lot in my life when things haven’t gone well. Not my fave situation but I like this part of the job. We need to find a perfect way to fight the outside world again.”
Scott Parker: “While we want to go to Anfield and play the Manchester Citys, Arsenals and all these and try to assert ourselves and get results, sometimes those challenges and asks are too big for us just through sheer quality in certain moments and the levels of where we are.”
Referee: Stuart Attwell Assistants: Marc Perry, James Mainwaring Fourth Official: Matt Donohue VAR: Craig Pawson Assistant VAR: Timothy Wood.
Kickoff is set for 3PM GMT/10AM EST tomorrow. Stick with The Liverpool Offside team to keep yourself up to date with team news and match buildup, live updates, and post-match reaction. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account and have your say on the action as it happens.