Competition: Premier League – Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
Venue: Anfield – Monday, August 17 – 20:00 BST (15:00 ET)
Match Odds: Liverpool 4/9 – Draw 100/30 – Bournemouth 6/1
Liverpool welcome Premier League newboys AFC Bournemouth to Anfield on Monday night as the Reds fans will get their first look at their side without Steven Gerrard leading the team out for the opening league game.
After a summer overhaul that saw Gerrard and Raheem Sterling leave the club, Brendan Rodgers has taken steps to refresh the squad with new talent. The likes of Roberto Firmino and Christian Benteke have added threat to a new look Liverpool attack as they look to break back into the top four after a disappointing campaign.
It’s a case of trying to rebuild whilst still aiming high for Liverpool. And after losing your captain and club legend Gerrard, it will be extremely difficult to do so.
They won 1-0 at Stoke last weekend, gaining revenge from that 6-1 thrashing at the end of last season, but they were far from convincing and need to use Monday night’s game as a platform to impress.
The same can be said for Bournemouth, who will want to prove they deserve to be in the top flight after an impressive display in the Championship last term.
They lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa last week but created plenty of chances and will look to relish the occasion of playing at Anfield here.
Eddie Howe has certain philosophy he has imprinted on the south coast but their positive style football must also bring points as they look to extend their stay in the top flight past the end of the season.
This will be the first ever league meeting between the two, though they have met twice in less than two years, with Liverpool winning a League Cup and an FA Cup game against the Cherries, both away from Anfield.
Liverpool will be without Jon Flanagan and Daniel Sturridge who remain long-term absentees. Joe Allen is a doubt after sustaining an injury in preseason. Roberto Firmino will hope to start behind Christian Benteke up top.
Bournemouth have Christian Atsu and Shaun MacDonald as doubts but Atsu should play some part. Harry Arter is expected to miss Monday’s game after missing most of preseason.
Liverpool’s form: W
Bournemouth’s form: L
Key Stat: Monday night will be the first time the two sides have met in the Football League.
Key Player: Christian Benteke – New Liverpool striker Benteke will want to open his Reds account after drawing a blank against Stoke last weekend and will look to impress on his home debut.
Liverpool 2-0 Bournemouth – Liverpool looked average at best last weekend but should have enough to win comfortably at home in what could be a tight game. Bournemouth’s free-flowing style of play could cause the Reds problems but it may be too tough a test for Eddie Howe’s men to pass this early on in the season.