Championship side Bournemouth will be hoping to pull off a shock result when they host Liverpool in the Fourth Round of the FA Cup on Saturday (12:45 GMT, live on ITV 1).
Bournemouth have enjoyed a solid campaign after gaining promotion to the second tier at the end of last season and are 16th in the table, seven points clear of the relegation places, with 31 points from eight wins, seven draws and 11 defeats.
The Cherries secured their place in the Fourth Round with a 4-1 thrashing of League Two side Burton Albion. While they are under no illusions as to the scale of the task facing them here, manager Eddie Howe has nevertheless preached the importance of going into the match with a positive attitude, describing the occasion as a “no lose situation” for the club.
Howe was just 31 years old when he first took the reigns in 2008 but quickly got the supporters on side by presiding over a miraculous escape from relegation to the Conference. He has since led Bournemouth to two promotions, first from League Two and then, following a brief spell at Burnley, from League One into the Championship.
Harry Arter is his side’s primary distributor, while the good combination play between Simon Francis and Matt Ritchie down the Bournemouth right could also cause Liverpool some problems. Striker Lewis Grabban leads the club’s scoring chart with 11 goals and has recently signed a new three and a half year contract following interest from Brighton.
Liverpool have enjoyed a very good season and are fourth in the Premier League table with 43 points from 13 wins, four draws and five defeats. They are the league’s second highest scorers with 53 goals in 22 matches and have scored at least once in each of their last 13 matches in all competitions.
The superb form of Luis Suarez (22 goals in 17 league appearances) has contributed heavily to Liverpool’s prolific form in front of goal. His improved form is down, in part, to a change of style compared to last season, with swifter distribution of the ball into the forward players. They close down energetically in midfield and move forward quickly and efficiently.
The seven-time FA Cup winners booked their place in the Fourth Round with a relatively comfortable 2-0 victory at home to League One side Oldham. Brendan Rodgers (pictured above) elected to rest a number of his regular first team players for that match and with a crucial league match against local rivals Everton coming up next Tuesday, could again do so for this match.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Daniel Agger (calf), Jose Enrique (knee), Lucas Leiva (knee) and Mamadou Sakho (hamstring). Jon Flanagan could be involved after recovering from a hamstring injury, while Brad Jones is expected to start in order to give a rest to first-choice goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who has made a few errors in recent weeks.
Bournemouth vs Liverpool Betting Tips Verdict
These two sides last met in 1968, when Bournemouth were still known as Bournemouth and Boscombe Athletic. They drew 0-0 at Dean Court, only for Liverpool to record a comfortable 4-1 victory at Anfield in the replay. Their 1927 FA Cup tie followed the same pattern, with a draw (1-1) followed by a Liverpool win in the replay, again by a score of 4-1.
This match is a sellout and Bournemouth will hope the home crowd can inspire them to go toe-to-toe with their more illustrious opponents, as they did in drawing 1-1 away to eventual winners Wigan in last year’s Third Round. For the older generation, there will be hope of a repeat of the club’s famous victory over Manchester United in 1984.
Bournemouth’s chances of achieving such a success will be determined by how strong a side Liverpool send out onto the pitch on Saturday. With such a crucial league fixture coming up it is unlikely Rodgers will employ all of his first choice players, meaning that while Liverpool are still favourites, the difference between the sides is unlikely to be huge.
- Back Bournemouth + 1.5 on the Asian Handicap @ best odds of 851/1000 (that is almost 10/11) at Ladbrokes. If Bournemouth win, draw or lose by a single goal, the bet pays out.
- Matches involving Bournemouth and Liverpool so far this season have averaged just over 11 corners and in what is likely to be a frantic, end-to-end encounter, we would expect a relatively high corner count on Saturday also. Back over 11 corners @ evens with BetVictor.