Liverpool can build on their opening-day victory by securing another three points when they host newly-promoted Bournemouth at Anfield on Monday (20:00 BST, live on Sky Sports).
Liverpool endured a relatively disappointing season last time out. They suffered an early elimination from the Champions League and came home sixth in the Premier League, a full four places below their previous finish. More will be expected of them this time around.
Brendan Rodgers’ side got off to a positive start by recording a 1-0 victory away to Stoke City last weekend. Philippe Coutinho’s excellent long-range strike enlivened an otherwise uninspiring encounter and secured Liverpool a key three points against a team whom many are tipping to finish in the top eight. Their clean sheet, at least, was well deserved.
Rodgers has had to contend with the departure of a key player for the second consecutive summer. Last year it was Luis Suarez; this time it was Raheem Sterling. The £49million received from Manchester City went towards the signings of Christian Benteke, Nathanial Clyne and Roberto Firmino, while Danny Ings and James Milner joined on free transfers.
Liverpool are still yet to see the best of some of the players signed with the proceeds of the Suarez transfer and will hope for better from their new arrivals. It is to be expected that it will take a little time for everything to click into place, but in the meantime they must continue to pick up good points if they hope to have a realistic chance of challenging for a top-four finish.
Rodgers will definitely be without the injured Daniel Sturridge (hip), Joe Allen (hamstring) and Jon Flanagan (knee) for this match.
Bournemouth secured promotion to the Premier League by finishing top of the Championship last season with the best attack in the division and the south coast club are now determined to make a good impression in their first-ever season in the top flight.
Eddie Howe’s side did, however, suffer an early setback by falling to a tightly contested 1-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa last weekend. Buoyed on by the lively home crowd, they had the better of the first half and created a couple of presentable chances. But their visitors improved after the break and grabbed the winning goal with 20 minutes left to play.
It could be a preview of Bournemouth’s season to come. The result laid out plainly the realities of the Premier League, where Bournemouth will be required to add a clinical finishing touch to the slick pass-and-move football that has led them to two promotions in three years since Howe returned to the club in October of 2012. They will have to take better advantage of periods of dominance, particularly on home soil, if they are to defy the bookies’ relegation odds of 5/4 to go straight back down.
The club spent around £19million on new recruits ahead of their top-flight adventure. Max Gradel arrived on the back of a 17-goal season for Saint-Etienne, while fees were also paid out to bring in Tyrone Mings from Ipswich and Lee Tomlin from Middlesbrough. Sylvain Distin was among their free transfer pickups, while Christian Atsu came on loan from Chelsea.
Howe has injury doubts over Atsu (knock), Harry Arter (groin) and Shaun MacDonald (toe) for the trip to Anfield.
Liverpool vs Bournemouth Preview’s Betting Tips
Liverpool were 3-1 winners when these sides met in the quarter final of last season’s Capital One Cup and also triumphed, 2-0, when they squared off in the fourth round of the FA Cup during the 2013-14 season. Those were two of just six previous meetings between them, in which Liverpool currently boast an undefeated record of four wins and two draws.
Liverpool were quite disjointed in their attacking play against Stoke and will hope to provide a more cohesive performance in this match. Their slow start to the last campaign, in which they lost six of their opening 12 matches, contributed heavily to their failure to secure a top four finish and they will be at pains to avoid a similar scenario this time around.
Bournemouth got a bit of a reality check last weekend and it will be interesting to see how they approach their trip to Anfield. They were rarely forced to adopt an overtly defensive outlook on their travels last season and while an element of caution is to be expected, they are still likely to commit good numbers forward whenever opportunities present themselves.
Liverpool are, though, the most likely to emerge victorious from what should be an open and entertaining encounter. With that in mind, here are our Liverpool v Bournemouth match preview’s betting tips:
- Back Liverpool to win on the “match result and both teams to score” market @ best odds of 23/10 with Betfair Sportsbook or BetVictor.
- Benteke ended last season in fine goalscoring form for Aston Villa, with 12 goals in all competitions from March onwards. Bournemouth struggled to deal with his replacement Rudy Gestede in their defeat to Villa and Benteke is likely to cause them similar problems on Monday. Back Christian Benteke to score at anytime @ best odds of 11/10 with Stan James.