Unbeaten in their last four outings, taking to task the likes of Everton and Arsenal and pulling through a battling draw with Manchester City along the way, Liverpool look to have well and truly shaken off whatever was ailing them come the turn of the year and those claims will sound all that more convincing if they’re able steer their way past AFC Bournemouth when the Cherries visit Anfield tomorrow.
It all sounds a bit funny, but with their trip to Dean Court back in December still fresh in his mind, Jurgen Klopp won’t be under-estimating the South Coast side one bit. Twice coming from behind to claim their first win over Liverpool in their history, Bournemouth brought clearly in to focus the Reds struggles against teams in the lower half of the table all the while proving they have the chops to make it in the top-flight.
With all that being said, this is a different day and a squaring up to the Reds in front of your own fans is vastly different to doing it on Merseyside — though their hosts mounting injury list isn’t helping their cause. Daniel Sturridge, back in full training, could be contention to play some part against the Cherries, but he’ll likely see Divock Origi, who scored against Everton at the weekend, drafted in to replace the injured Sadio Mane.
“The first thing I think about is ‘how can we defend Bournemouth?’, not ‘how can we create 27 chances?’, because I know we can – maybe not 27 – but we can and will create chances if we are really strong and good organised, perfectly organised in defence,” explained Klopp, knowing full well breaking down Eddie Howe’s side won’t be easy. “There’s a lot of different things [we could do],” mused the German. “If you ask me ‘do we miss Sadio, Adam [Lallana], Hendo [Jordan Henderson]?’ then yes, but not for this game because they are not here. Now, let’s go.”
Howe, of course, has problems of his own. Bournemouth defender Tyrone Mings, who picked up a five match suspension for stamping on Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, is still watching from the stands, but the loss of midfielder Andrew Surman, who was forced off at halftime on Saturday in the goalless draw with Southampton with a knee problem, will be keeping the Cherries boss up at night.
Come to think if it, there may be a few things on his mind; Harry Arter’s shanked penalty at St. Mary’s stadium won’t soon be forgotten with the lingering threat of relegation still looming. Clear of the drop zone for now, there’s still lots of football left to play and with their next two matches against league leaders Chelsea and closest chasers Tottenham Hotspur, the potential for a scrap is still on.
All the more reason to put on a show at Anfield, no?