LIVERPOOL VS BOURNEMOUTH PREVIEW: DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE CHERRIES
Liverpool play their first home game of the 2015/16 season on Monday evening against the recently promoted AFC Bournemouth. Despite the match being the first away PL fixture for the club based in South West England, there is little doubt that they are tough competitors, if not the contenders for the title. Bournemouth proved to be a difficult opposition for Aston Villa in their very first PL game, with the latter narrowly snatching the winning goal in the 72nd minute.
Who are we up against this week?
Bournemouth’s rise to the Premier League shouldn’t be considered anything less than ‘miraculous’. The team that played in the Division 2, the fourth tier tournament of English football in the 2009-10 season, climbed three tiers in just 5 seasons to make their debut in the Premier League. Led by manager Eddie Howe, who saw them progressing through three tiers, they have been considered by many pundits to be one of the tightest and most hardworking units in the PL.
Bournemouth emerged as the champions of the Football League becoming the highest scoring club in the process. With their players, Callum Wilson, Matt Ritchie and Yann Kermorgant each netting more than 20 goals last season, Liverpool’s defense will need to be at their very best to avoid conceding goals. On the defense front however, Bournemouth is somewhat vulnerable and it could be exploited by oppositions. It was this weakness that was fully exploited by Aston Villa last week on their way to a tough victory.
What will Liverpool need to do?
Outscoring the rivals, rather than keeping a clean sheet will need to be on manager Brendan Rodgers’ priority. Rodgers will perhaps need to strengthen the attack force by starting with Ings, Benteke and Firmino. The defensive lineup that was fielded against Stoke could be continued this week too, but the midfield may need a few changes. Ibe, Lallana, Origi, Sakho, Can and Markovic will need to be on the backup. As an immensely hardworking manager, Howe will certainly attempt to field a team that will be ready to face BR’s diamond formation. Thus, Rodgers may need to tweak the system a bit and put a system that allows for a creative approach.
There is no doubt that Liverpool is a stronger unit than Bournemouth. Yet, as was observed in the very first PL fixture of the season between Chelsea and Swansea, no opposition should be written off easily. A good combination of discipline and creativity will be needed from the Reds in order to secure a victory.