Liverpool visit the south coast this Sunday afternoon to take on Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side.
After two frustrating home draws The Reds return to the place where an 15 game (11 league games) unbeaten run ended when Liverpool, in their toxic kit, allowed a 1-3 lead to turn into a 4-3 defeat. The Red’s also lost a 2-1 lead at Anfield in April.
Forward the clock eight months and few things have changed. The Red’s are on an 11 game unbeaten run although not running on all cylinders and The Cherries are trying to push themselves into the safety of mid-table.
The Cherries are five games without a win and two points above the relegation zone. With only 15 goals scored, Wilson and Defoe are their top scorers with three goals. Those two have only scored in 3 different games. They were however able to hold Manchester United to a single goal at a wet Old Trafford in their latest result. With a bit more quality in the final third they could have left with a point.
Howe has them playing really good football at times, but they simply lack the quality to push themselves on as a team and get consistent results. They have real variety in attack, they can press high, counter, dictate with possession and out think you with a clever set piece. Klopp’s men will have to be wary. Also they have a decent defensive record, only five clubs have conceded less goals and conceded as many goals as Liverpool and Arsenal (20). Only 3 of their 17 games have ended with more than the odd goal separating the sides. So Liverpool can expect to work for their goals in a tight game. The Cherries usually line up in a 4-4-2 formation with a deep double pivot choosing to use the pace of either Fraser, King, Wilson, Stanislas, Ibe or Defoe. Look out for former Red Jordan Ibe wanting to make an impression.
Klopp’s men have dropped points recently from positive positions, which has been frustrating, however things are not as bad as some Liverpool supporters will have you believe. Averaging four goals a game in their last three away league fixtures, the Red’s are capable of picking off home teams as they have a go at Liverpool’s creaky defense. Klopp will look to employ his 4-2-4 away formation and to rotate as he has in recent games. Ox maybe coming in for Mane.
The Cherries are tough to beat, so we can expect a tight game, however, if the Cherries do not score first they can struggle to take advantage of their good play while also trying to keep the back door shut. Having only twice come back from losing positions to take points (four points).
Very few can live with Klopp’s men when they are at their best, but the vulnerability to see off games they dominate lurks in the background. Do not be surprised if this is tested again on Sunday afternoon.
Prediction: AFC Bournemouth 1-2 Liverpool FC