Liverpool host Bournemouth on Wednesday night as they look to secure another three points in their bid for a top-four finish.
Currently five points clear of Manchester United, who now have just one game in hand, Liverpool’s hopes to secure Champions League football are certainly on track. A win on Wednesday would seem them move 11 points clear of Arsenal in sixth. However, despite the table making good reading for Liverpool at present, they can ill-afford any more slip ups to mid-table teams. The Reds’ last six league defeats have all come against sides in the bottom half of the table.
In their last match,, Liverpool outfought and outclassed their local rivals to do the double over Everton in a 3-1 win. Sadio Mane was once again on the scoresheet, after scoring the decisive goal at Goodison earlier in the season, while Philippe Coutinho also re-found his form, putting in a terrific all-round display. The Brazilian has assisted six Premier League goals this season – his second best tally in a league campaign. With recent injuries hitting the squad hard, his involvement could become all the more crucial for Jurgen Klopp.
The result sees the Reds go into the game in an confident mood, with just one defeat in their last 23 Premier League home matches (W15, D7). The defeat was the 3-2 defeat against Swansea in January.
Bournemouth head into the game on good form, with the side unbeaten in their last four games. Eddie Howe will be looking to pull off one of the most unlikely doubles in the Premier League on Wednesday after his side came out on top in a thrilling 4-3 win for the Cherries. Key to their good form has been their tight defensive structure and another good performance at the back could see the Cherries keep three consecutive clean sheets for the first time in the top flight.
Head To Head
Bournemouth’s 4-3 win against Liverpool in December is their only victory in 10 previous games against the Reds. They have lost all four of their previous games at Anfield, conceding 10 times and scoring just twice.
Liverpool will be without Sadio Mane for Wednesday’s game, with the Senegalese international suffering a knee injury in the Merseyside derby at the weekend. His absence will be a huge miss for the Reds, who have failed to win a game in the league this season when he hasn’t started. Divock Origi is set to come into the team after making an appearance off the bench on Saturday, while Daniel Sturridge has also returned to first team training and could feature on the bench.
Harry Wilson wasn’t involved for the Under-23s in midweek and could also be named in the squad, with Jordan Henderson and Adam Lallana long term absentees. Jurgen Klopp is sweating on the fitness of Emre Can and Joel Matip prior to kick off, but remains optimistic that the duo could feature.
Bournemouth midfielder Andrew Surman is out with a knee injury, meaning Jack Wilshere could start. The midfielder has made 24 starts this season having joined on loan from Arsenal, but has recently been resigned to appearances off the bench.
Eddie Howe has several other unnamed injury doubts heading into the match while Tyrone Mings is still suspended for his stamp on Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Bournemouth will come to Anfield and try and sit deep and soak up the pressure from the Reds, who could find it hard to breakdown the opposition with their current injury woes. Mane’s pace has so often been the driving force for Liverpool this season, helping to unlock the door and they’ll no doubt miss him on Wednesday.
However, Bournemouth have shown this season that they aren’t afraid to attack the opposition when facing the top six – look at the Arsenal game for example. If they venture forward, that could create some space for Liverpool.
Prediction: Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth