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AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool: Milner calls for focus following Dortmund drama

James Milner has stressed the importance of Liverpool achieving a successful end to the Premier League campaign, as Jurgen Klopp’s side prepare to visit AFC Bournemouth.

Liverpool completed a heroic turnaround against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League on Thursday, scoring three goals in the final 25 minutes on a raucous night at Anfield to secure a 5-4 aggregate victory and a place in the semi-finals.

But now their attentions turn back to the Premier League, and they head into the clash at Vitality Stadium in eighth, on the back of just one defeat in their last seven league outings.

“We’ll try and win every game,” Milner told the Liverpool Echo. “It is important to try and finish strongly in the league.

“The performance was good at the weekend against Stoke. I think that contributed massively [to the Dortmund game] and gave us the momentum to keep winning games.

“I have said at times this year that I don’t think there is that belief there – that the boys don’t really believe how good they are. It is a young team and sometimes we struggle for consistency.

“But to beat a team like Dortmund and to come back the way we did and going this far in a major European competition is obviously massive.

“With the team spirit and quality we have it is an exciting time to be at the club.”

Bournemouth, meanwhile, have excelled in their debut Premier League campaign, Eddie Howe’s side breaking the 40-point barrier with last week’s 2-1 win at Aston Villa.

The hosts come into Sunday’s meeting 11th in the table, with their remarkable achievements perhaps overshadowed by the astonishing title challenge of Leicester City.

But Howe is keen to banish any lingering sense of complacency within his squad now they are seemingly safe from the drop.

“I said after the Villa game I’m not going to say we’re safe, there are some big games coming for this football club,” he said on Friday.

“The main thing for me is that we focus on our performance, I want to give our supporters our best.

“We’ll try and learn from these last games and try to win them. We have to be at our best unlike against Manchester City and Tottenham,” he added, referring to recent successive defeats.

Howe could be boosted by the return of Junior Stanislas (hamstring), although Harry Arter (Achilles), Benik Afobe (hamstring) and Adam Smith (hernia) are out.

For the visitors, Klopp may well rotate his squad after the gruelling exploits of Thursday, while midfielder Emre Can, who suffered an ankle injury against Dortmund, serves the second game of his two-match suspension.


Key Opta stats:

– Liverpool have lost none of the eight matches in all competitions they have played against Bournemouth (W6 D2 L0).
– If Liverpool win, they will become the first team in the Premier League to win away at 50 different grounds.
– Liverpool have won just 31 per cent of the 16 Premier League games that Jordan Henderson has not started this season, compared to 53 per cent in the 15 games with him in the starting XI.
– Daniel Sturridge has started the last three Liverpool games in the Premier League – he has not started four in a row for the club within a single season since April 2014.

Fri 15 Apr, 2016
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