Four key battles that could decide Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Liverpool return to action this Sunday when they travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League.

Jurgen Klopp's side have enjoyed a nice winter break (of sorts), most recently facing Fulham in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final on 10 January.

While the Reds did get a chance to recuperate after the hectic winter fixture list, they remain without a number of key players heading to the Vitality Stadium.

Mohamed Salah and Wataru Endo are still on international duty, although the former has now also picked up an injury, while the likes of Dominik Szoboszlai, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson are sidelined.

Therefore, Klopp has a few selection dilemmas ahead of the clash with the Cherries, with Liverpool in desperate need of a victory to restore their five-point lead at the summit of the Premier League.

Here are four key battles that could decide Bournemouth vs Liverpool.


Both Ibrahima Konate and Virgil van Dijk are likely to be put to the test by former Liverpool striker Dominc Solanke on Sunday, but the top-scoring Englishman in the Premier League may look to target the more fallible Frenchman.

Solanke has been in blistering form in recent weeks, winning Premier League Player of the Month for December after six goals in as many games.

The speedy and lanky centre-forward has great athleticism and physicality, but has also developed a more ruthless streak in front of goal than Liverpool fans witnessed during his time on Merseyside.

Konate has been imperious in recent weeks, but still has the capacity to be slightly rash. Given he will have to cover for Conor Bradley on the right flank as well, he may be more stretched than usual.

If the former RB Leipzig defender can stifle Solanke, along with centre-back partner Van Dijk, then Liverpool have a great chance of coming away with three points this weekend.


Luis Diaz has been in much better form recently, something that Klopp acknowledged in his pre-match press conference prior to the Bournemouth match.

There are question marks over whether the Colombian, who has looked reinvigorated in the past few matches, will feature on the left or right this Sunday given Salah's absence, but he could get joy up against Max Aarons or Milos Kerkez on the other flank.

Two attack-minded full-backs, Diaz should have space to exploit in behind the Cherries' backline, and should use his pace and trickery to torment them.

Diaz has looked far more willing to take defenders on in recent matches, something he must continue to do at the Vitality.

The 27-year-old also has an impressive record against the Cherries, scoring three in his two appearances against them.


Curtis Jones, Jurgen Klopp, Liverpool vs West Ham - Propaganda

With Liverpool currently missing a number of key midfielders - Endo, Szoboszlai, Thiago and Stefan Bajcetic all absent for Bournemouth - Curtis Jones has been even more pivotal to Klopp than ever.

The all-action midfielder offers great balance to the Reds and will need to dominate central areas up against another impressive performer in Philip Billing.

Both players have great ball retention skills and will be expected to put in the hard yards in both halves.

If Jones can continue his rich vein of form, he can be key in helping Liverpool play through Bournemouth's intense press on Sunday, but he will be kept honest by Billing.


Alisson - Propaganda

Two Brazilian goalkeepers will go head-to-head this weekend and there will likely be one winner.

Alisson, who has been inspired yet again for Liverpool this season, and Neto will likely be called upon frequently on the south coast in what promises to be an open and attacking affair.

Alisson has been particularly useful for the Reds on the road - think of impressive displays against Newcastle United, Tottenham Hotspur and Crystal Palace - and could be crucial for Klopp again this Sunday.

Neto is also a key performer for the Cherries, but is vastly inferior to his compatriot. In a battle of Brazilian stoppers, Liverpool have the edge.

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