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13-goal Dominic Solanke one to watch as Bournemouth identify 2 LFC “fragilities”

Liverpool will travel to Bournemouth this weekend feeling well-rested, but the Cherries have the potential to repeat their 1-0 win on the south coast last season.

The Reds will have had a 10-day break by the time Sunday’s game rolls around, allowing Jurgen Klopp and his players to refresh ahead of the title run-in.

The weekend trip to the Vitality Stadium may have looked easier on paper earlier in the season, but Andoni Iraola’s side have looked impressive of late, sitting 12th in the table.

Ahead of kickoff, TIA’s Henry Jackson spoke to Tom Jordan (@TomJordan21), Bournemouth fan and co-host of Back of the Net podcast, to discuss Sunday’s match, the key battles and a lot more.

 

How happy are you with Bournemouth’s season so far?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (L) and Bournemouth's Marcos Senesi during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Very happy! After a tricky start, Bournemouth have adapted to their new style well and are starting to reap the rewards.

Remaining in the Premier League is always our minimum expectation, but we are starting to believe we can surpass that relatively comfortably.

 

What have been the main reasons for your success under Iraola?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Bournemouth's manager Andoni Iraola during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We are are finally playing in a way that suits the attributes of our squad.

In previous seasons, we have tried to contain sides, sit deep and almost pay our opponents too much respect, but under Andoni Iraola, we are a lot more front foot.

We are using our offensive talent to hurt the opposition and it’s far more exciting to watch, with the results now justifying that style of play.

 

Who has shone and struggled for Bournemouth this season?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, November 25, 2018: AFC Bournemouth's David Brooks during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Arsenal FC at the Vitality Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

We will come onto Dominic Solanke, who has obviously flourished under the new gaffer, but a shoutout to Ryan Christie, who is a completely different beast this season.

Often utilised from a wide position in the past, Christie has often flattered to deceive, but now playing in a deeper central role, he has become invaluable to the way we play.

All action, energy to burn, he’s making us tick from that area of the pitch.

In contrast, I would have to say David Brooks is struggling currently. He has undoubted quality, but he is finding it tough to adapt to his role in the way Iraola wants us to play.

For that reason, a loan move could well be around the corner.

 

Just how good has ex-Liverpool man Solanke become?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, August 19, 2023: Liverpool's Ibrahima Konaté challenges Bournemouth's Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield. Liverpool won 3-1. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Only time will tell if Liverpool made the right call, because it’s a different level competing for titles, but here at Bournemouth, we are over the moon to have him leading our line.

Always a favourite here and never doubted his quality and application for the team, the only question mark was would he score enough goals?

He is certainly answering that now.

It goes back to the change of style – Solanke is now able to stay further forward and has players around him who will create chances he can get on the end of.

Previously, he was incredibly isolated.

 

What’s one thing you would change at Bournemouth?

BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 4, 2016: SISGrass re-enforced natural turf system at AFC Bournemouth's Vitality Stadium, pictured before the FA Premier League match against Liverpool. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

It’s a challenge to want to change too much to how we are playing currently, but off the pitch, a new stadium is essential to the club’s growth.

Fortunately, it is happening, so we will have a stadium of around 20,000 capacity in a few years time, which is exciting.

 

How do you assess Liverpool’s title chances?

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, January 1, 2024: Liverpool's Mohamed Salah celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Newcastle United FC on New Year's Day at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool have a cracking chance of winning the Premier League title, in my opinion.

I would still make Man City favourites with the return of Kevin De Bruyne, but the Reds have shown their quality, despite having not quite hit their levels just yet for me.

I think it will be touch and go until the end of the season.

 

Where will the key battles take place on Sunday?

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 7, 2024: Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold during the FA Cup 3rd Round match between Arsenal FC and Liverpool FC at the Emirates Stadium. Liverpool won 2-0. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

I think wide areas on both sides will be key this weekend.

Liverpool are likely to be without both first-choice full-backs, and Bournemouth are potentially still without our left-back.

Who exploits those fragilities may come out on top.

 

Finally, give us your prediction…

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, January 10, 2024: Liverpool's manager Jürgen Klopp during the Football League Cup Semi-Final 1st Leg match between Liverpool FC and Fulham FC at Anfield. (Photo by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

My head says Liverpool will be that bit too strong for us, but my heart believes we can nick something. Always follow your heart.

I will go for an exciting 2-2 draw.