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    Liverpool vs Bournemouth Match Preview


    Liverpool have the chance to further cement their top-four position in the Premier League when they entertain 11th-place Bournemouth on Saturday.

    The Reds have been in scintillating form in recent weeks, most notably in their 5-1 aggregate victory over Manchester City in the Champions League, while they've only lost two of their last 24 league matches.

    Visitors Bournemouth have enjoyed a rich vein of form themselves in 2018, although they go into this weekend's clash as massive underdogs despite claiming a 2-2 draw at Anfield when the two sides met a year ago.

    Liverpool

    Liverpool produced a disciplined display against Manchester City in the first-half on Tuesday night, despite conceding in the second-minute through Gabriel Jesus as Pep Guardiola's side threatened an unlikely comeback.

    The visitors' goal came under siege for sustained periods throughout the half but they managed to hold firm, albeit with a touch of fortune after Leroy Sane had a legitimate goal ruled-out for offside.

    Jurgen Klopp's team then started to open-up the City defence after the break with greater regularity, as the home side started to feel the effects of a gruelling week that had included two defeats.

    Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino continued their prolific seasons by producing clinical second-half finishes to help the club seal a place in the semi-final line-up later this month for the first time since 2008.

    The Reds still have to play two Premier League games before the first-leg against Italian side Roma is played at Anfield on April 24, although Klopp is likely to rest several players this weekend in order to freshen-up his squad.

    The German is expected to name a similar team to the one which drew 0-0 at Everton last Saturday, although both Nathaniel Clyne and Ragnar Klavan who played that day are unavailable due to injury.

    A victory on Saturday will narrow the gap between Liverpool and 2nd-place Manchester United, who play the first of their two matches in hand on Sunday afternoon at home to bottom-club West Brom.

    Bournemouth

    After impressing in the Premier League in their first two seasons, the 2017-18 campaign was proving to be much more of a struggle for Bournemouth, who picked-up four points from their opening eight matches in the competition.

    Eddie Howe's side responded well to that adversity by winning three of their next four league matches, although that was followed by an eight-game spell without a victory between November 25 and Boxing Day.

    The club found themselves in the bottom-three after 20 matches of the season, although their only defeats in the lead-up to Christmas came against high-flying Burnley, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City.

    A 2-1 win over Everton in late-December propelled the club to 14th in the table, while further victories in 2018 over Arsenal, Chelsea, Stoke and West Brom have elevated the club to their current position of 11th.

    Bournemouth now have a 10-point buffer between themselves and 18th-place Southampton, although three of their last five matches are against teams from the Premier League's current top-seven clubs.

    The Cherries have had mixed fortunes against Liverpool in recent times having won 4-3 at the Vitality Stadium last season and drawn 2-2 at Anfield last April, while also suffering an emphatic 4-0 loss at home earlier this campaign.

    Callum Wilson is the club's top scorer this season having scored eight times in all competitions, one ahead of Joshua King on seven goals, while Ryan Fraser and Junior Stanislas have both scored five apiece.

    Liverpool Team News

    Liverpool welcome back captain Jordan Henderson, who was suspended for Tuesday's Champions League quarter-final against Manchester City, while Roberto Firmino should also play having shaken-off a neck problem.

    Nathaniel Clyne and Ragnar Klavan, who both recovered from injury in order to start against Everton last weekend, have been ruled-out once again and they are joined by several other first-team players on the treatment table.

    Joel Matip will miss the rest of the season with a thigh problem, while Adam Lallana (hamstring), Joe Gomez (ankle) and Emre Can (back) are also set to be out of action for the next few weeks.

    Left-back Alberto Moreno is expected to earn a rare start, and Klopp may once again turn to squad members such as Danny Ings and Dominic Solanke like he did last weekend in the Merseyside derby.

    Bournemouth Team News

    Eddie Howe will need to decide whether to keep faith with Jermain Defoe, who started in last weekend's 2-2 draw against Crystal Palace, or recall Joshua King whose 89th-minute equaliser earned his side a draw.

    Jordon Ibe is a slight doubt due to illness, while Junior Stanislas will not feature again for The Cherries this season having sustained a knee injury in the recent 2-2 draw against Watford.

    Howe is unlikely to make any changes to his back-four despite their failure to keep a clean sheet during their last eight matches in the Premier League, in which they've conceded 17 goals in the process.

    Tyrone Mings has not featured in the first-team since September due to a back injury but is close to regaining full-fitness, while Adam Smith, who sustained a medial ligament injury to his knee in March, may return before the end of the season.

    Head-to-head

    Bournemouth had never beaten Liverpool in nine previous encounters in all competitions before they triumphed 4-3 at the Vitality Stadium in December 2016, with goals from Callum Wilson, Ryan Fraser, Steve Cook and Nathan Ake.

    The two sides had only met on six occasions before The Cherries were promoted to the top flight for the first time in 2015, which included two FA Cup ties that Liverpool triumphed in a replay having been held to a draw at Dean Court.

    Liverpool have had the better of the Premier League meetings with three wins and a draw from five matches in the competition, while The Reds also came out on top in the last 16 of the League Cup in 2015.

    Jurgen Klopp's team lead the way in terms of the all-time head-to-head record as well with eight wins and only one loss from a total of 12 meetings, although three of those matches have ended in draws.

    Score Prediction

    Liverpool 3-0 Bournemouth
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    Item Reviewed: Liverpool vs Bournemouth Match Preview Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Richard Tufft
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