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Thursday, 17 January, 2019

Bournemouth and Liverpool could serve up another thriller

Under-fire Jurgen Klopp must chase victory

Liverpool have been frustrated in recent weeks
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Premier League
Sky Sports Premier League, 4.30pm

Back-to-back Premier League draws have led to Jurgen Klopp coming under fire as his Liverpool team have slipped further behind leaders Manchester City and they're hard to trust for their trip to Bournemouth.

Liverpool are scintillating when they're on song, which was the case for much of the Merseyside derby, but Klopp's questionable tactical decisions combined with some disastrous defending from Dejan Lovren allowed Everton back into a game that should have been killed off.

Things got worse at Anfield as the Reds failed to break down West Brom and looked far from their dangerous best and that was despite the manager starting his fab four of Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah for only the second time this season.

Klopp's rotation policy has come under scrutiny. He has made 65 changes this season, significantly more than any other Premier League manager, but urged his critics to consider the bigger picture in the context of a long season fighting on several fronts.

However the Reds have drawn four of their last seven matches in all competitions, winning the other three but also throwing away a lead on three occasions. They should be doing far better and a lack of defensive steel continues to hinder them.

Bournemouth are winless in five games and manager Eddie Howe would have been disappointed to pick up only three points from fixtures against Swansea, Burnley, Southampton and Crystal Palace before a hard-fought loss against Manchester United on Wednesday.

That run has seen them fall towards the relegation zone but the Cherries will be able to draw on last season for inspiration at Dean Court. 

In this fixture last year the teams played out a thriller after Liverpool once again forfeited a lead. They led by two goals with just 15 minutes to play but Ryan Fraser, Steve Cook and Nathan Ake struck to give Bournemouth a 4-3 victory.

There was similar drama at Anfield as Liverpool turned around a 1-0 deficit before Josh King equalised late on as the match finished 2-2.

Howe is never one to sit back, even against the bigger teams, and Liverpool could pick off the Cherries if they're in the mood but the Reds' defensive frailties could easily allow Bournemouth to do likewise.

Over 3.5 goals
1pt 6-4 Betfair, Hills

Premier League standings

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Team news
Brad Smith, Adam Federici and Tyrone Mings all remain sidelined for the Cherries but Eddie Howe has no new injury concerns.

Adam Lallana continues his injury comeback and is likely to be named among the substitutes and Simon Mignolet will also return in goal. Defensive trio Nathaniel Clyne, Joel Matip and Alberto Moreno are out while Emre Can is suspended. Daniel Sturridge faces a fitness test.

Key stat
Liverpool are unbeaten in 11 matches in all competitions.

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Liverpool should be doing far better and a lack of defensive steel continues to hinder them
E.W. Terms
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