Played fifteen, won eleven, drawn three, and lost one; that has been Liverpool’s record at Anfield thus far this season. In fact, it’s the third best home record in the league, only bettered by Tottenham and Chelsea. Pair that with the fact that this Wednesday’s opponents Bournemouth rank fifteenth in the away league table, and this encounter seems as though it should be rather straightforward.
Liverpool need this game to be rather straightforward. The Reds have finally found some consistency in 2017 and week-by-week are cementing their place in the top four further and further. There are eight games remaining in the season for them and it’s not delirious to suggest that every single one of their remaining games is winnable. In addition to Liverpool’s favorable run in, there is even more to be optimistic about as all the teams around them will be facing off with each other in the coming weeks, meaning guaranteed dropped points.
With that being said however, the points dropped by those around them means nothing if they are unable to capitalise on it. Which absolutely means beginning this favourable run in with a victory against Eddie Howe’s men.
Unfortunately for Liverpool, they just might have picked the worst time to face off with The Cherries. The South Coast side is coming into this encounter unbeaten in their last four, even picking up an impressive draw at Old Trafford along the way. They’ll feel hard done by that they didn’t pick up a victory in their last outing (a 0-0 draw with Southampton), as they completely dominated the match. And if the turf hadn’t given up on Harry Arter taking a penalty then they very well might have.
Liverpool, although in good form, are coming into this match with the injury list getting longer and longer. Sadio Mane’s nasty looking knee injury in the Merseyside Derby on Saturday seems to have put him in with Adam Lallana in the long term bracket. We’re still unsure when Jordan Henderson or Daniel Sturridge will be fit enough for the ferocity of a Premier League match, and Emre Can missed Monday’s training session after picking up an ugly knock on Saturday as well.
There are a few ways Jurgen Klopp could approach this game in the wake of his mini injury crisis. Most fans have been calling for him to pick the side with the least changes from Saturday and based off his past decisions he is likely to do just that. Meaning Lucas Leiva will likely retain his position at the base of the Red’s midfield. And although there have been a few shouts for Trent Alexander-Arnold or Ben Woodburn to slot into the right wing position vacated by Sadio Mane; we are more than likely to see Roberto Firmino shifted to the right, with Divock Origi playing down the middle.
In spite of the current injury dilemma, Liverpool should still have more than enough to get past Bournemouth. And although Eddie Howe’s men are on a decent run of form, these are matches that you simply have to be taking maximum points from if you aspire to finish in any of the top four places.
If taking another massive step toward securing elite European football for next season isn’t enough motivation for Klopp’s men however, they can look at this game as a chance to exorcise some demons. Bournemouth were able to come from 3-1 down to beat The Reds 4-3 in the reverse fixture in early December.
The sheer bizarreness of that match pretty much wrapped up the best and worst of Liverpool’s season into ninety minutes. And if the men in red are able to prove to The Cherries that that defeat was an absolute one-off and don’t for a second start to think that victory is a given; then not only will they give back some much needed payback, but as with every win they pick up from now till the end of the season, they will step closer and closer to Champions League qualification.