In hindsight, the Champions League tie against Manchester City could not have gone any better. Be under no illusions, we were full value for the 5-1 aggregate lead against the best team in the land; a source of frustration for many Reds fans who are aware of just how good we are on our day.
Are we 17 points ‘worse’ than City, as the Premier League table suggests? Of course not, and our next mission is to prove it over the duration of a whole campaign, rather than just 180 minutes.
Were we lucky that Leroy Sane’s ‘goal’ was disallowed in the incident which saw Pep Guardiola sent to the stands? Perhaps yes, but few could begrudge us the victory after dominating both legs, by and large.
Indeed, the rest of the Premier League should be thanking us! Attack Manchester City with pace and in numbers and you can thrive; as we have now shown on three separate occasions.
Goals from Bobby Firmino and Mo Salah – his 39th of the campaign, and counting – did the damage, and now we can look forward to a couple of weeks of Premier League action in which the aim has to be to hunt down Manchester United in second.
This week’s visitors are Bournemouth, a team who average 1.39 points per game against sides outside of the top six and just 0.60 against the big boys. Those sorts of numbers are to be expected, to some extent, but the Cherries have lost 8/10 against the top six and those kinds of figures cannot be ignored.
The way we have been playing at Anfield of late, a comfortable and low-key victory is welcome after a week of intensity and nervousness!
Liverpool Team News
We have a clear run at this fixture, with seven days until our next outing against West Brom, and so there is no need for Jurgen Klopp to exercise caution – assuming everyone came through the City game unscathed, that is.
It looks likely that we have seen the last of Joel Matip, Adam Lallana and now Emre Can in a red shirt this season. The prognosis for those guys is of an absence of a few months. Joe Gomez, meanwhile, could return in May.
So Klopp will have to use his midfield players wisely in the coming weeks, and we expect Jordan Henderson to replace James Milner here.
He could give little rests to others – Nathaniel Clyne in for Trent Alexander-Arnold, perhaps, who has been sensational recently, and perhaps even Alberto Moreno in for Andy Robertson.
But the manager will be reluctant to tinker too broadly with three points there for the taking.
The last time Bournemouth failed to score in a Premier League match we were all putting up our stockings and hoping that Santa Claus came down our chimney – December 23, to be precise.
So that gives an indication of what the Cherries are capable of going forward, and a reasonable question would be why aren’t they much higher in the league table?
That, quite simply, is because they can’t defend. One clean sheet since November tells its own story, as does a run in which they have conceded two or more goals in five of their last seven outings.
They’ve only lose one of their last six however – a 1-4 tonking at the hands of Tottenham – and so we can’t assume that we are simply going to outscore the Cherries. They are more capable than that.
Liverpool vs Bournemouth Betting Tips
There will be plenty of punters who tuck straight into the Even money available about Both Teams to Score & Over 2.5 Goals, and given the stats there’s absolutely no reason not to.
But Bournemouth’s goalscoring run is surely going to come to an end sooner or later, and lest we forget it’s just over a week since we kept a clean sheet at Anfield against Manchester City.
Our form on home soil has been awesome of late: add the Champions League win over Manchester City to our 4-3 triumph over them back in January, plus 5-0, 4-1 and 2-0 wins over Watford, West Ham and Newcastle.
In short, we’re scoring lots of goals at Anfield and conceding very few.
And so there are a few angles of attack for punters to explore. Liverpool to Win to Nil – a bold one, but not completely mad – at 6/4 is certainly of interest.
Otherwise, it’s the handicap market that make most sense. We can back the Reds with a traditional -1 handicap at 7/10, or eke out a touch more value with a -1.50 Asian handicap at 3/4.