Liverpool face a taxing trip to Bournemouth on Saturday lunchtime, with Jurgen Klopp knowing a win will take his side top of the Premier League.
Bournemouth vs. Liverpool
Saturday, December 8, 2018 — 12.30pm (GMT)
Referee: Lee Mason
The Reds once again outlined their title credentials on Wednesday, conquering a cold December night away to Burnley.
They recovered from going 1-0 down in the second-half, eventually winning 3-1 and producing an imperious performance after the break.
It is further evidence of the strides Liverpool have taken under Klopp and it narrowed the deficit on Man City back to two points.
The Merseysiders have a wonderful incentive heading into the trip to Bournemouth this weekend, with victory taking them to the Premier League‘s summit.
That may only be the case for about five hours, but it would put extra pressure on City, who travel to Chelsea later in the day.
The Cherries will be a tricky proposition, however, as Eddie Howe continues to do a fantastic job on the south coast.
Their current seventh-place position is fully merited, with eye-catching football played along the way and a strong team spirit created.
Klopp’s side will have to play far better than they did in the opening 45 minutes at Burnley to get a result, with the hosts capable of causing any team problems on their day.
It is the latest hurdle to overcome in a breathless run of December fixtures – three points would cap off a fantastic week for Liverpool, making it three league wins in six days and four in a row in the competition.
This fixture last season: Bournemouth 0-4 Liverpool
Joe Gomez is set to miss around six weeks of action after being stretchered off at Burnley with a broken leg.
It is a huge blow for both the player and Liverpool, considering Gomez is a strong contender for the Reds’ Player of the Year so far.
Dejan Lovren, Nathaniel Clyne and Dominic Solanke are all definitely out, Sadio Mane is a doubt and there is still no return in sight for Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rhian Brewster.
Andy Robertson and Gini Wijnaldum are fit, however.
Klopp is sure to ring the changes again, as he aims to retain a freshness within his squad ahead of crucial upcoming matches against Napoli and Man United.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is expected to start after being rested against Burnley – he ended up replacing Gomez early on – but Rafa Camacho and Fabinho are possible right-back alternatives.
Naby Keita and James Milner were both man of the match contenders on Wednesday night, but Wijnaldum is likely to replace one of them.
Fabinho may potentially come in for Jordan Henderson, while Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino should start after being rested on Wednesday.
Bournemouth have suffered a huge injury blow, with key midfielder Lewis Cook ruled out for the rest of the season after damaging his anterior cruciate ligament.
Former Everton midfield Dan Gosling is also missing with a knee problem.
Last 5 away to Bournemouth (All Competitions)
Won 4-0 – December 2017 (Coutinho, Lovren, Salah, Firmino)
Lost 4-3 – December 2016 (Wilson pen, Fraser, Cook, Ake; Mane, Origi, Can)
Won 2-1 – April 2016 (King; Firmino, Sturridge)
Won 3-1 – December 2014 (Gosling; Sterling x2, Markovic)
Won 2-0 – January 2014 – (Moses, Sturridge)
Away fans’ pubs: The best bet for away fans is to head into the centre of town before the match. The stadium is about three miles from it and there are plenty of buses and taxis to get you to the ground.
This will give you a much bigger variety of bars and pubs to suit any taste.
One piece of advice for visiting fan: My standard advice would be to make a weekend of it. Bournemouth is known as a tourist haven for a reason, with plenty of accommodation and things to do aside from the football.
The Jurassic Coast and Tank/Monkey Museums are all driveable and are must-sees for families.
I would also say bring a baseball cap or a coat. The away end isn’t the best-covered and with the low winter sun, you could well be blinded on a bright day.
Equally, you could be soaked on a wet one!
Did You Know?
Milner will make his 500th Premier League appearance if he features on Saturday – a fantastic achievement by a great professional.
The 32-year-old has racked up those games over a 16-year period, having made his debut for Leeds United at the age of just 16.
He became the youngster-ever Premier League goalscorer when he netted away to Sunderland on Boxing Day in 2002 – 16 years and 356 days – but his record has since been broken by former Everton striker James Vaughan.
Bournemouth – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Huddersfield
Lost 3-1 vs. Man City
Lost 2-1 vs. Arsenal
Lost 2-1 vs. Newcastle
Lost 2-1 vs. Man United
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 3-1 vs. Burnley
Won 1-0 vs. Everton
Lost 2-1 vs. PSG
Won 3-0 vs. Watford
Won 2-0 vs. Fulham
In his press conference on Friday, Klopp said doesn’t think Man City will be feeling the pressure if Liverpool win, also praising Bournemouth as a team:
“I don’t think Man City feel any pressure. That we could be first in the table is nice, but it would probably only last for a few hours.
“The first target is to perform at the highest level against Bournemouth. They are in a good moment, even though they’ve lost a few games, it was always really hard work for the opponent.
“They are full of confidence.”
TV & Live Blog Info
The match is live on Sky Sports Main Event from 11:30am (GMT), with kickoff at 12:30pm.
Chris Williams is in charge of This is Anfield’s matchday live blog from 11:45am, bringing you minute-by-minute updates during the game.