The Big Match Tactical View: Bournemouth v Liverpool

Jurgen Klopp may allow Bournemouth to have plenty of the ball
Jurgen Klopp may allow Bournemouth to have plenty of the ball
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Liverpool are strong favourites to beat a Bournemouth side in poor form. Michael Cox looks at the tactics and Alan Thompson provides the betting expertise...

"I strongly fancy Liverpool here – their counter-attacking approach is built for tearing into possession-based sides like Bournemouth."

Bournemouth v Liverpool
Sunday 16:30, Sky Sports 1.
Match Odds: Bournemouth 6.86/1, Liverpool 1.548/15, The Draw 5.04/1.

Bournemouth in poor form

Liverpool suffered an embarrassing 4-3 defeat in this fixture last season, but Jurgen Klopp's side nevertheless start as strong favourites against a side who haven't won in their last five matches.

Bournemouth played relatively well against Manchester United in midweek, keeping the opposition to a single goal victory at Old Trafford, but Eddie Howe's side failed to beat Swansea, Burnley, Southampton and Crystal Palace in their previous four matches. With games against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup in midweek followed by a trip to Manchester City, it's not unreasonable to think that Bournemouth could go eight games without a win in all competitions.

Howe has settled on a 4-4-1-1 system in recent weeks and is likely to deploy that system here, although there are injury doubts over various players, and we might see a heavily changed side, especially with so many matches at this stage of the season.

One of the key features of Bournemouth's side, however, is the emphasis upon the full-backs pushing forward into attack, and that is likely to be in evidence here. Right-sided Adam Smith and left-back Charlie Daniels love to push forward down the flanks, contributing to passing moves in the opposition half - but this could open up space for Liverpool to counter-attack into.

Howe rotation?

Howe's midfield selection will be interesting. Lewis Cook and Andrew Surman started in the 2-2 draw at Palace last weekend while Dan Gosling and Harry Arter played at Old Trafford. Surman alongside either Gosling or Arter seems more likely here, and Howe will instruct them to remain in cautious positions to guard against breaks through the middle of the pitch.

Out wide, Junior Stanislas and Ryan Fraser have started the last two matches without particularly impressing so there's a chance Jordon Ibe could come into the team against his former club. Upfront, Jermain Defoe will probably return having played only 20 minutes at Old Trafford, with Josh King in support. King will also be asked to pressure Liverpool's deep midfielder, probably Jordan Henderson.

Liverpool to counter-attack

Klopp's team selection came under plenty of criticism last weekend, when he rotated heavily for the 1-1 derby draw with Everton. But he fielded his 'fab four' - Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah - in midweek and Liverpool failed to break down West Bromwich Albion.

Salah has been struggling with a thigh strain, and the fact he played 90 minutes in midweek may indicate he's due a rest - but leaving out Liverpool's top scorer, and such a great counter-attacking weapon, should be considered a big risk here. Liverpool will have chances to break, and Salah could be the best option in those situations.

If Klopp does decide to leave out one of his star players, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain could come in. Liverpool have played a 4-4-2 system in recent weeks, and he's the kind of player who offers balance and defensive discipline to track the runs of Daniels.

Liverpool's defence continues to be a problem, especially away from home, but Bournemouth aren't the most potent side from set-pieces. King's runs from deeper positions may cause problems, but Bournemouth have appeared somewhat toothless in recent weeks.

I strongly fancy Liverpool here - their counter-attacking approach is built for tearing into possession-based sides like Bournemouth. 1.548/15 is a little short in the overall match odds market, but I think this will be comfortable for Klopp's men, so I'll back 'Liverpool -1' in the 'Bournemouth +1' market at 2.56/4.

The Betfair Trader - Alan Thompson

The Cherries are in the middle of a tough three-game sequence - they played well at Old Trafford midweek but ultimately came up short, face Liverpool and then have to go back to Manchester next week for a meeting with City. To make matters worse, they are without a win in their last five Premier League games.

Jurgen Klopp’s side were held to another draw at Anfield midweek, this time 0-0 against West Bromwich Albion. Despite back-to-back home draws they could still move back into the top four with a win today (assuming that Spurs don’t win at the Etihad the previous day).

Liverpool are heavy 1.564/7 favourites to get all three points but history tells me that backing Liverpool away from home as short as this is a quick route to the poor house. When Liverpool are priced below 1.75/7 in the Premier League they only win approximately 50% of those games.

Eddie Howe’s side are quickly slipping into trouble and are just four points ahead of bottom of the league Swansea City, yet they have only conceded 20 goals so far this campaign, the same amount as Liverpool and Arsenal.

The Liverpool goal machine seems to have dried up a bit in the last couple of games, despite still creating plenty of good chances, but just converting one of them across 180 minutes at Anfield is a worry. They may not get as many opportunities against what can be a resolute Bournemouth back line.

I had priced up Liverpool at 1.625/8 for this game and so while not a huge amount of value in the price I am going to take a chance on laying them @ 1.564/7.

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