Liverpool to finish third? – The view from Bournemouth ahead of Wednesday’s Premier League clash

3 April 2017

Liverpool host Bournemouth in the Premier League on Wednesday evening, as the Reds look to build on their Merseyside derby triumph and also avenge December’s loss on the south coast.


The 3-1 victory over their nearest rivals was another huge result for Jurgen Klopp‘s side, and they have now picked up 10 points from a possible 12, since the defeat to Leicester City on February 27.

There is a rare midweek round of Premier League fixtures this week, and Liverpool’s clash with Bournemouth represents another good chance of three points for the Reds.

The 4-3 defeat at Dean Court back in December showed what the Cherries are capable of, however, and a repeat of that would be disastrous.

Ahead of the game, we’ve had a chat with Bournemouth supporter Peter Bell (@CherryChimes) to get his thoughts on both sides’ seasons and the upcoming Anfield clash.

 

Bournemouth sit 11th in the Premier League – how would you rate their season out of 10? Happy with how things are progressing under Eddie Howe?

A few weeks ago there were some nervous faces around Dean Court. The club was certainly wondering where the next win was coming from, but things turned around with the 1-1 draw at Old Trafford, and even though the Cherries are not mathematically safe yet, the team has regained its confidence and has stopped shipping goals.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, August 17, 2015: AFC Bournemouth's manager Eddie Howe during the Premier League match against Liverpool at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I predicted that the team would finish 14th this season and they are well on target for that if not better, so I’d have to give Bournemouth an eight out of 10.

The Cherries were not going to do a Leicester in their second season in this league, and steady progress is certainly embraced enthusiastically by most fans here on the south coast.

Some of the summer buys have not managed to really break through, but considering we have lost Callum Wilson to injury again, staying up would be a big achievement.

 

Who have been the Cherries’ three best players this season, and why?

I have to start at the back and say Artur Boruc, as he has won three Player of the Month awards. There have been some games where he has made silly errors, but he has more than made up for that by saving so many penalties and keeping the team in games with miraculous saves.

Ryan Fraser is the surprise package as he only made his Premier League debut this season. I believe it was against Liverpool when he was instrumental in turning the game on its head.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 4, 2016: AFC Bournemouth's Ryan Fraser celebrates scoring the second goal against Liverpool during the FA Premier League match at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

He hasn’t looked back since then and has recently has been named in the senior Scottish international squad. I am expecting even bigger things from him next season. He is so powerful when he runs at goal and he has become a very good finisher.

I suppose we like strikers over defenders, and while Steve Cook has been superb at centre-back, I’ll opt for Josh King as my last player to heap praise on.

He has had to fill in again in Wilson’s absence, and the way he never gives up on a ball and is willing to come back and battle for possession has endeared him to the fans. He also got his first hat-trick for the club against West Ham recently and his game is coming on extremely well.

 

Any who have struggled? How have Brad Smith and Jordon Ibe done since their moves from Liverpool?

Brad Smith has been like a spare part that you see warming up, and he hasn’t managed to oust Charlie Daniels from left-back. He probably needs a run of games, which he just hasn’t had. I still feel that the fans are waiting to see how good he is as he hasn’t won people over yet.

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 4, 2016: AFC Bournemouth's Sam Hart applauds the Liverpool supporters after his side's late 4-3 victory during the FA Premier League match at Dean Court. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Jordon Ibe has shown some moments of quality, but he is far too inconsistent to start every week. He was given plenty of chances, though, and he will be one that Eddie Howe has to do a lot of work with over the summer to get him up to speed.

Bournemouth play a very drilled pattern of play and it has taken these players a while to grasp some of it, which is not a surprise, seeing as most of the other players have been together since they were in League One.

Lewis Cook, who we signed from Leeds United last summer, has also not made an impact despite starting in the first game of the season. Emerson Hyndman has found himself out on loan at Rangers, but he has shone there.

 

What have you made of Liverpool’s season under Jurgen Klopp?

I’m pleased that Liverpool are in a good position to make the top-four, but I can’t quite work out why they have done so well against the top teams but have suffered so badly against the bottom-half sides.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, September 24, 2016: Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho Correia celebrates scoring the fourth goal against Hull City with team-mate Sadio Mane during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Injuries have played a part in your season, and Philippe Coutinho and Sadio Mane appear to be players that Liverpool cannot do without.

As for Jurgen Klopp, I think he has done adequately but not been sensational. He needs to bring in a couple of world-class defenders if he is to challenge for the title next season.

 

Any Reds players stand out for you, in particular?

I’ve always liked Adam Lallana, even though he played for Southampton. He is a better player than many England supporters give him credit for.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, January 21, 2017: Liverpool's Adam Lallana in action against Swansea City during the FA Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I also admire James Milner because he has been at the top for such a long time, and has filled in at left-back when he is essentially a midfielder.

 

Looking ahead to Wednesday’s game, where do you see the key battles taking place?

Central midfield will be congested, and Harry Arter and Georginio Wijnaldum will be in the heat of the battle there.

Cook will be the main defender to keep an eye on Divock Origi, assuming he starts for Liverpool, while King will probably try and play on Dejan Lovren.

Liverpool's Divock Origi scores his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at the Vitality Stadium, Bournemouth. 2016. (Picture by Adam Davy PA Wire/PA Images)

Bournemouth will be looking to stop Nathaniel Clyne getting forward from right-back, with Marc Pugh attempting to make him think more about defending than attacking. Pugh also tracks back well, though.

 

I need two predictions from you – how will the match play out and where will both sides finish in the league?

I expect a tight game, but Liverpool have been free-flowing at home of late so Bournemouth will have to step up their game like they did against Man United.

How Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham do against Bournemouth could be key at the top of the table, and I can see the Cherries potentially picking up some points against those three.

Liverpool are rightly favourites, but if they can’t get an early lead, this could well be a more resilient Bournemouth side than Klopp has faced before.

Our finishing at Southampton on Saturday was poor but the defence was solid, and I think that may continue and we could see a 0-0 draw.

As for final positions, I predict Liverpool to finish third and Bournemouth to be 14th. Thanks for the chat.

 

* You can follow Peter @CherryChimes.

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