Verdict: Liverpool win
Best Odds: 8/15
With competition for fourth spot really beginning to heat up, Jurgen Klopp will know the importance of picking up maximum points after failing to beat Everton and West Brom. Traveling down to the south coast, Liverpool will face a Bournemouth side who are still searching for their first win in over a month.
Although Bournemouth may have put up a resilient performance against Manchester United in midweek, Eddie Howe’s side were unable to pick up a crucial three points and moved their new record onto five games without a win. Now in their third consecutive season among England’s elite, Bournemouth can now be considered an established Premier League outfit. Currently sat 14th in the table, the Cherries are only two points above the relegation zone and if results go against the east coast club this weekend, Howe’s side could be dragged into the drop zone.
If Bournemouth do want to extend their Premier League status for a fourth year, the Cherries are going to have to improve on their form at the Vitality Stadium. Picking up only eight points at home this year, Bournemouth have only managed to finish with two clean sheets this season, only Swansea boast a worse Premier League home record this season. Ahead of a busy Christmas period, the Cherries will know the importance of finding some much-needed form, after playing host to Liverpool on Sunday afternoon, Bournemouth then face Chelsea and Manchester City.
Brad Smith (hip), Adam Federici and Tyrone Mings (both back) are out, with Steve Cook and Harry Arter one caution away from suspension.
With Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool side facing a tough test from Tottenham, Arsenal and Burnley for that crucial fourth place finish come May, the Reds will know the importance of picking up crucial points ahead of a busy Christmas period. Although Liverpool are a side unbeaten in their last eight Premier League appearances, Klopp’s free-scoring side have gone a tad goal shy over the past week. Coming off the back of consecutive draws against Everton and West Brom, Liverpool have only managed to find the net once in those two appearances. Despite their two minor slip ups over the past week, Liverpool do boast an impressive record when playing teams outside the top six. In their last 22 matches against teams outside the European spots, Liverpool have only failed to win one of those matches, winning 14 of them.
Currently sat fifth in the table, Liverpool will be feeling confident ahead of their journey to the Vitality Stadium. Without a defeat on the road since their 4-1 loss to Tottenham in October, Liverpool have managed to win their last three games away from Anfield and Klopp’s men have managed to score 12 goals in those three away matches. With 13 league goals to his name already this year, Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has become the Reds star man this year. Helping Liverpool to the knockout stages of this years Champions League, the Egyptian forward could become the first Liverpool player to score at least 20 league and cup goals in a single season since Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge both did so in 2013-14.
Simon Mignolet is set to return to Liverpool’s starting XI and Adam Lallana could also be involved in the contest at the Vitality Stadium. Goalkeeper Mignolet has recovered from a swollen ankle, while midfielder Lallana, who has made only one appearance this term after suffering a thigh injury in pre-season, should be available according to Klopp.
Joe Gomez, James Milner and Andrew Robertson are expected to be fit after knocks. Daniel Sturridge (hamstring) remains a doubt, and Alberto Moreno (ankle), Joel Matip (adductor) and Nathaniel Clyne (back) are still unavailable. Emre Can serves a one-match suspension.
Key Factors to Consider
- Bournemouth’s 4-3 win in this fixture 12 months ago is their only triumph in 11 league and cup games against Liverpool (D3, L7).
- The Cherries are winless in their last five league games (D3, L2).
- They have claimed eight Premier League points at home this season – only Swansea, with seven, have fewer.
- Liverpool have lost only one of their last 22 Premier League matches against teams outside the ‘big six’ (W14 D7 L1).
- Klopp’s side are unbeaten in their last eight games in the Premier League (W5, D3) – their best run since an 11-match streak ended in November 2016.
Although Liverpool may have briefly lost their clinical touch over the past week, Jurgen Klopp will be confident about his attacking trio returning to usual business this weekend. With Bournemouth only picking up one Premier League home win since the middle of September, coupled with Liverpool’s eye-catching record against teams outside the top six, Liverpool and Premier League top scorer Mohamed Salah will look to carry on their 11 match unbeaten run.
Verdict: Liverpool win
Best Odds: 8/15
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