Liverpool face one of their most important games of the season on Saturday, with victory at home to Bournemouth imperative.
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
Saturday, February 9, 2019 – 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Anthony Taylor
Can we go back to the evening of January 29? At that point, Newcastle had defeated Man City at St James’ Park and Liverpool had the chance to go seven points clear the following night.
Consecutive draws against Leicester and West Ham have led to a mini-meltdown, however, not helped by City winning two in a row and going top on goal difference.
Granted, the champions have played a game extra, but for the first time this season, Jurgen Klopp and his players are feeling the heat.
Two draws in February would be no great problem in any routine season, but City’s constant accumulation of points makes slip-ups like these feel pivotal.
Bournemouth head to Anfield on Saturday afternoon, as the Reds face yet another team who would be best described as an awkward opponent.
The Cherries have become one of the most competent Premier League outfits outside the top-six and they will look to take advantage of Liverpool’s dip this weekend.
Things have gone wrong ever since the trip to Dubai but Liverpool have reached a point where they can’t feel sorry for themselves and must return to winning ways, preferably in style.
It should not be forgotten that destiny is still very much in their own hands, and in terms of quietening the doubting and mocking voices, three points would be significant.
There’s no reason why that shouldn’t happen.
This fixture last season: Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
All three only returned to training late in the week, however, making their involvement not a guarantee.
That being said, Keita impressed in the second half against West Ham, so giving him another go could make sense. Milner is also an option in midfield.
Bournemouth are without influential duo David Brooks and Callum Wilson, Jefferson Lerma faces a late fitness test and Simon Francis and Lewis Cook are both out with cruciate ligament injuries.
Last 5 at Home to Bournemouth (All Competitions)
Won 3-0 – April 2018 (Mane, Salah, Firmino)
Drew 2-2 – April 2017 (Coutinho, Origi; Afobe, King)
Won 1-0 – October 2015 (Clyne)
Won 1-0 – August 2015 (Benteke)
Won 4-1 – January 1968 (Hateley, Thompson, Hunt, Lawler; Hughes OG)
Did You Know?
That run started on November 10 when Newcastle got the better of them, before Man City and Wolves won 3-1 and 2-0, respectively.
Everton and Cardiff then defeated them 2-0 on both occasions, completing a miserable run of away days for Cherries supporters.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Bournemouth – Last five results (all competitions)
Speaking to reporters on Friday, Klopp called for supporters to create a special atmosphere inside Anfield:
“I think I never left it in doubt how much I appreciate the support, and I believe in the help of support.
“It would be nice [if they turn up early]. It’s getting exciting, it was always clear there would be games you have to really keep your nerves, in the stand, on the pitch. That’s a part of the game.
“So the good thing is we pretty much know what we have to do, on the pitch and in the stand.
“I’m really looking forward to [Saturday’s game]. It’s a 3 o’clock kickoff, it’s not that dark, but we can create an outstanding atmosphere.
“Everybody who saw matches in the past knows how big an influence atmosphere is.
“I don’t know if I have to ask for it, but whoever wants us to succeed in this game, and in general wants to help, I don’t have the English saying for it, but it’s like shouting your soul onto the pitch.”
TV & Live Blog Info
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth is another Saturday 3pm (GMT) kick-off, meaning it cannot be shown live in the UK.
Chris Williams will be on our matchday live blog from 2.15pm, however, which is the next best thing if you can’t see the match. Another crucial 90 minutes await.