Rodgers’ side are very low on confidence, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see them knocked out at Dean Court, such are their current woes.
The Northern Irishman has a big call to make in terms of team selection. With Arsenal looming on Sunday he will likely rest some key players, but it is a genuine chance to win a trophy so he would be mad to field too weak a team.
There are some players who simply have to start the game against Eddie Howe’s impressive outfit, with three, in particular, standing out.
With Raheem Sterling desperately needing a rest, having started the last eight games in a row and only having missed one match all season, the inclusion of Lazar Markovic would keep pace in the side up front.
Despite his dismissal against Basel, the Serbian has shown positive signs in the last two substitute appearances against Basel and Man United at Old Trafford on Sunday.
His defence splitting pass for Balotelli offered a glimpse of his passing ability, while he’s also been more willing to run at defenders.
Quite what Rodgers has against Sakho remains baffling. The Frenchman has never been a favourite of the manager’s, but he is the best centre-back at Anfield currently.
His gangly frame and seemingly awkward balance when in possession work hugely against him, and he actually uses the ball terrifically well. According to Squawka, he has a passing accuracy of 90 per cent so far this season.
His positional sense is good, he is dominant in the air and his general all-round game is impressive. You don’t become Paris Saint-Germain captain at 19 years of age if you don’t have something special about you.
With Dejan Lovren completely out of sorts and Martin Skrtel far more of a weak-link than Rodgers seems capable of realising, Sakho simply has to be given a run in the side. He can’t do any worse than the others.
Although Kolo Toure is predominantly a left-sided centre-back, like Sakho, there’s no reason why the former Arsenal man couldn’t do well in a right-sided role against Bournemouth, with the 24-year-old alongside him.
Another player whose recent demotion seems rather strange is Can. Since arguably being Liverpool’s star player in the 2-1 home loss to Chelsea on 8th November, in which he opened the scoring, the 20-year-old has scandalously not started a game.
If the Reds’ midfield was full of good performers then Can’s omission would be understandable, but that is not remotely the case.
Steven Gerrard is in decline, Jordan Henderson has failed to hit the heights of last season, Lucas Leiva has done well but is limited and Joe Allen has been completely ineffective. Can has arguably been the most impressive of the lot when he has played.
Emre Can has played only 15 minutes since he scored and was our best player against Chelsea – 7 games. That is unexplainable.
— LFCTS (@LFCTS) December 15, 2014
It’s easy to forget that the Germany Under-21 international can also play at centre-back, and although he may be far from the finished article in that role, it’s surely worth giving him a go there at some point.
Against Bournemouth, however, he has to start the game in midfield. His pace, power and reading of the game have all impressed, and he could boss the battle in the middle of the park against the Cherries.
Rodgers seems to have it in for some players regardless of how they perform – it is becoming a worrying aspect of his management – and Can certainly seems to fall into that category. He needs to start playing more.
What would your starting XI be against Bournemouth? Let us know in the comments section.
(Note: Article edited to include Markovic once news of Balotelli’s injury was revealed.)