Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp is expected to ring the changes when the Reds square off with AFC Bournemouth tomorrow following the dramatic 4-3 win over Borussia Dortmund at Anfield on Thursday night.
After the first leg in Germany, he made seven changes to his starting eleven and it paid off in spades as Stoke City felt the wrath of an offensive line that is finally starting to click as the hosts ran out 4-1 winners on Merseyside. Divock Origi, who has been in blistering form as of late, built on his impressive showing at Westfalenstadion by bagging himself a satisfying second half brace to put the match out of the reach of the Potters.
As you well know, the youngster was the catalyst for Liverpool’s improbable fightback in the Europa League, but he could very well find himself on the bench tomorrow with Klopp likely to hand a starting berth to Daniel Sturridge. Martin Skrtel and Kolo Toure could also come back into the side alongside Jon Flanagan with Mamadou Sakho and Dejan Lovren, who both scored on Thursday, almost certain to be given a rest following their heroics on the night.
While we already knew that the Reds would be without captain Jordan Henderson, their problems in the center of the park have multiplied since he was ruled out for the remainder of the season with Emre Can likely to join him for an extended spell on the sidelines after damaging ankle ligaments late on against Dortmund. Joe Allen will almost certainly be called in to deputize and Lucas could join the Welshman in the rotation.
There’s no question that Liverpool booking a spot in the semi-finals in such dramatic fashion will be a hot topic of conversation for the commentators tomorrow, but the Cherries have been a story of their own with Eddie Howe’s side set to finish in the top half of the Premier League in their maiden season — a serious accomplishment in and of itself.
“They are a strong side and he is imprinting his ideas on them, you can see that with the way they press and work,” said Howe, talking to the media ahead of the meeting with Klopp’s boys. “We will anticipate a hard-working and full of energy Liverpool team,” he continued, having obviously taken in their exploits earlier in the week. “You can’t predict them too much, we have to focus on what we are going to do.”
The young manager is still without the like of Adam Smith, Harry Arter and Benik Afobe, but he could have Junior Stanislas back at his disposal after the former West Ham United trainee shook off a hamstring problem. The Cherries will have been disappointed not to have won at Anfield earlier in the season after a clearly offside Christian Benteke goal was allowed to stand and they’ll be looking to right that wrong tomorrow — and build on their 2- 1 win over the now relegated Aston Villa following hammerings at the hands of Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur.
With their top-flight safety already secured, Bournemouth will be looking for something to celebrate as the season winds down and scalp like Liverpool’s could be the perfect catalyst for a serious party. That they could very well pull it off will come as no surprise to anyone that has watched them play, but as Klopp starts ironing out the inconsistencies in his teams game, there’s no question that even if they get off to a good start on Sunday, things could turn South for them really, really fast.