BOURNEMOUTH VS LIVERPOOL
| Saturday, December 8th |
Premier League | Vitality Stadium
12:30 PM GMT / 7:30 AM EST
Bournemouth became the newest team to leap frog Manchester United in the table when the seaside club beat Huddersfield Town on Tuesday this week. The Cherries are up to seventh place in the Premier League and will be looking to jump Everton and into the top six with a win against Liverpool on Saturday.
Eddie Howe has overseen Bournemouth’s rise through English football going back to 2008. During his first stint with the club, Howe managed the team to League One promotion. He then moved on and returned a season later to a struggling side. Howe worked his magic again and led the team out of their slump and into another promotion. Then after two seasons in the Championship, Howe managed his boyhood club into the pinnacle of English football for the first time ever.
Now, with three seasons of Premier League experience under their belts, Bournemouth continue to make their mark. Howe has a robust, attacking side that will hunker down when necessary and look to catch Liverpool on the break.
More recent results haven’t gone Bournemouth’s way, though. The club have only won one of their last five fixtures and that was against Huddersfield. Howe’s team do tend to score goals, particularly at home, so a win and a clean sheet for Liverpool at the Vitality Stadium should be a big boon for the Reds.
Howe will be without midfielder Dan Gosling due to a knee injury and Lewis Cook is out for the season after tearing an anterior cruciate ligament this week.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Keita, Fabinho, Shaqiri; Salah, Firmino, Sturridge
Jürgen Klopp has a few injury issues to contend with as well. Joe Gomez is the newest player to go down in Liverpool’s squad but Klopp will also be missing Sadio Mané, Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke as options for the trip to Bournemouth.
Liverpool have a terrific record against Bournemouth in the Premier League. The Reds have won four of the last six meetings between the two clubs. Last season Liverpool won both home and away fixtures, scoring a total of seven, uncontested goals in the process.
Joël Matip is expected to be Virgil van Dijk’s partner in defense for the next little bit with Lovren and Gomez out. The German centre-back hasn’t seen a lot of action this season but is still a fine player, good with the ball at his feet, quick, and aggressive.
The midfield make-up is the same mystery it always is. Klopp has several options to choose from to face Bournemouth. Naby Keita played very well midweek. Fabinho has been playing well. James Milner is a machine and will automatically walk out onto the pitch if not shut down properly.
Xherdan Shaqiri has often brought a much-needed spark to the team when he’s been included. Jordan Henderson and Gini Wijnaldum are also ready. But never rule out a surprise appearance from Adam Lallana. My advice is to emotionally prepare for that now.
The absence of Sadio Mané opens another door for Daniel Sturridge to get some game time up top. But Shaqiri could be utilized further forward as well if Klopp prefers a constantly buzzing front line.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jürgen Klopp: “Bournemouth is in good moment. They’ve lost a few games, I know that. But it was always really hard work for the opponent. They are well-organised, good in counter-attacks, and full of confidence.”
Eddie Howe: “In a one-off match against anybody I think we can win. That is my genuine belief but we are going to have to be absolutely excellent in every department. It is a big challenge for us against Liverpool.”
Referee: Lee Mason Assistants: Eddie Smart, Marc Perry Fourth official: Kevin Friend
Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM GMT/7:30 AM 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.