Preview: AFC Bournemouth v Liverpool

Bournemouth welcome Liverpool to the Vitality Stadium on Sunday hoping to end a run of five games without victory.

Premier League
Date: 17 December 2017
Match Day 18
Kick-off: 18H30 (GMT+2)
Venue: Vitality Stadium

Referee: A. Marriner
Assistants: S. Beck, S. Ledger
Fourth official: K. Friend

Head-to-head summary:

TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS

AFC Bournemouth 7 1 1 5
Liverpool 7 5 1 1

Previous encounter:

Liverpool 2-2 AFC Bournemouth 05/04/2017 (Premier League)
Liverpool scorers: P. Coutinho (40′), D. Origi (59′)
AFC Bournemouth scorers: B. Afobe (7′), J. King (87′)

Players to watch:

The Cherries haven’t exactly been scoring freely this season, although Jermain Defoe rolled back the years with a brace against Crystal Palace. The 13 other league goals the club has scored this season have been shared between the likes of Joshua King (2), Callum Wilson (3) and Andrew Surman (2) while a bunch of players have scored one goal apiece.

One Liverpool player has stood head and shoulders above the rest this season. Mohamed Salah has been exceptional for the Reds with 13 goals and four assists and will need to be stopped if Bournemouth are to stand any chance of a result.

Team form and quotes:

Bournemouth have endured a run of five games without a win, including three draws and two losses, most recently holding Southampton to a 1-1 draw, Crystal Palace to a 2-2 stalemate before losing 1-0 to Manchester United, in a plucky display.

They head into this match in 14th spot in the Premier League standings with 16 points from 17 games.

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe said: “Salah has been excellent this season, but it’s not just him, that’s the problem when you play these teams. We need to make sure our structure is good, our plan is good and also look at how we can take them on and focus on our strengths.

“We know how big a challenge it will be, Liverpool have added quality and in attack, they excel with their pace, technique and movement. They’re a formidable outfit and they’re getting better and improving all the time.”

Liverpool, in fifth place with 31 points, last drew 0-0 with West Bromwich Albion after being held to a 1-1 stalemate with rivals Everton.

The Reds had won their three previous games, including a 7-0 thrashing of Spartak Moscow in the Champions League, before Jurgen Klopp tinkered with his line-up and failed to overcome Everton and the Baggies.

Klopp said: “We have to play better than we did against West Brom but to ask for [us] in these one or two or three decisive moments to score instead of not scoring – that would be silly.

“It’s not about that, we have to come into these situations, we have to gain from minute to minute a better feeling in a game, we have to be more fluent.

“You can’t force it or ask for fluency, you bring yourself in this mood, and that’s what didn’t happen really against West Brom.”

Team news:

Bournemouth remain without Tyrone Mings (back) and Adam Federici (also back) while Liverpool have Adam Lallana (thigh) available but Joel Matip and Alberto Moreno remain sidelined. Daniel Sturridge will face a late fitness test and Emre Can is suspended.

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