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Sunday, 20 January, 2019

Leaky Bournemouth may get blanked by Liverpool

Reds can shut up shop at Anfield

Liverpool hitmen Sadio Mane and Mo Salah
1 of 1

Premier League
BT Sport 1, 5.30pm Saturday

Football is all about fractions and if we learned one thing from last weekend it’s that if you subtract two-thirds of Liverpool’s frontline, they are a very different team.

Punters spotted that as the Reds were held to a tame 0-0 draw at Everton just days before the Salah-Firmino-Mane holy trinity was reunited at Manchester City to such devastating effect.

Given that Jurgen Klopp and his men get a well-earned week off following this visit from Bournemouth, it is to be hoped that, at the very least, the German fields two of his trio of ace sharp-shooters, and better still all three.

And if that’s the case then resisting a bet on Liverpool is hard. Perhaps not in the match odds, where they are skinny enough, but there are other ways of siding with the Champions League semi-finalists.

Klopp was saying all the right things in his pre-match press conference - a top-four finish isn’t set in stone, the extra day’s rest means he can send out a strong team, and he’ll treat Bournemouth with the utmost respect.

Liverpool have kept 14 clean sheets in the Premier League this season and produced 11 wins to nil, one of which was a 4-0 romp at Dean Court in December. Since Bournemouth have managed just one clean sheet in their last 23, back the home win to nil.

Liverpool’s failure to find the net at Goodison Park was a surprise. They had the better chances but an attack featuring Dominic Solanke and Danny Ings from the off is simply too green. And Everton are far better organised defensively under Sam Allardyce than they had been earlier in the season.

Bournemouth, in contrast, continue to leak goals though they are at least spirited and stick to what they know. They’ve clawed back 18 points from losing positions with fightbacks registered in five of their last eight games.

It’s hard to know what focuses Eddie Howe’s mind more, the fact that they concede so many sloppy goals or the knack they have of finding ways back into games. Any defensive weaknesses will be exposed at Anfield where it will be a lot harder to get back into the contest.

Saturday football columns

Didi Hamann

Mark Langdon

Kevin Pullein

Nick Goff

Liverpool are unbeaten in five in all competitions, have gone almost a calendar year since tasting a league defeat at home and in Salah they boast arguably the player of the season. If he starts consider that he has scored 11 goals in his last six home Premier League outings and has failed to find the net only five times in his last 21 league matches.

Salah’s red-hot streak contrasts markedly with that of Callum Wilson, Bournemouth’s ace poacher, who is without a goal in his last eight games.

Even without direct contributions from Wilson the Cherries are scoring – both teams have netted in each of their last eight games.

But he’ll be feeding off scraps for a Bournemouth side whose only win in their last seven was against West Brom. 

Liverpool win to nil
1pt 5-4 BoyleSports, Hills

Premier League standings

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Team news
Joel Matip is out for the season. Adam Lallana, Emre Can, Nathaniel Clyne, Ragnar Klavan and Joe Gomez are crocked.

Adam Smith and Junior Stanislas are missing for the Cherries. Tyrone Mings is fit after seven months out.

Key stat
Liverpool have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven home Premier League games.

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Liverpool have scored at least two goals in each of their last seven home Premier League games
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