Liverpool shouldn't take Bournemouth lightly in the Capital One Cup
Having been dumped out of Europe’s prestigious UEFA Champions League and a possible title race in the Barclays Premier League (literally), a diffident Liverpool side are now facing a tricky fixture heading into the Goldsands Stadium in the Capital One Cup against a very much in-form Championship team.
AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC have experienced contrasting fortunes in their respective leagues thus far. With the Reds languishing down in a disappointing and queer 11th spot in England’s top division, AFC Bournemouth are flying ridiculously high in the Championship as league leaders following their 5-3 victory in a thriller against a stubborn Cardiff City side.
To add to the difficulties of this fixture, the win over Cardiff City during the weekend meant that Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth are now undefeated in 12 consecutive matches in all competitions. Now that is some heck of a run to say the least! Meanwhile, Brendan Rodgers being as cool as a cucumber was heard saying this in an interview,
We know the challenges that are here, the pressures that are here could be unrivalled, but we are relaxed and focused on our work.
Rodgers might still be calm and relaxed as he claims he is, but many Liverpool supporters are not. After the 3-0 thumping at Old Trafford at the hands of the club’s most rancorous rivals, perhaps the panic button is now just waiting to be hit.
How Liverpool might line up against Bournemouth:
Brad Jones is expected to retain his place at the goalkeeping position by getting the nod over Simon Mignolet in this match, well most Liverpool fans would expect so considering the dip in form the Belgian international has suffered over the course of the season. Plus, that spectacular save we all witnessed from Brad Jones when he acrobatically tipped Robin Van Persie’s goal-bound effort over the crossbar in the second half proved that the ex-Middlesbrough stopper still has some excellence left in his locker.
Despite Dejan Lovren’s disastrous performances in recent games, the return of Mamadou Sakho has sparked some light over a dimming Liverpool defense. Put Lovren aside, a returning Sakho pairing up with the in-form Kolo Toure will be able to, at the very least, frustrate the free-scoring Bournemouth attack which has managed 44 goals in 21 league games.
Talk about no walk in the park, Bournemouth has opened the scoring in every single home game the team has had against their helpless opponents this season. Javier Manquillo is expected to come in for the injured Glen Johnson in the right-back role whilst Jose Enrique is tipped to be employed at left-back as he continues to rediscover his form.
To those who are still wondering where the hell John Flanagan is, the 21-year-old is still sidelined after undergoing surgery on his left knee back in September.
Keeping an eye on the upcoming Premier League fixture against Arsenal, Brendan Rodgers could see no better chance than this to rest skipper Steven Gerrard. The Liverpool manager could be opting to field Brazilian enforcer Lucas Leiva to replace Gerrard in the starting lineup, allowing the tireless Jordan Henderson to take over the captain’s armband yet again.
Emre Can will be hoping to be given another chance to establish himself as a top notch defensive midfielder. Moving forward, the advanced midfield area should feature Jordan Henderson on the right and Lazar Markovic on the left. Joining the duo through the middle will most likely be a Bournemouth academy graduate, Adam Lallana.
Starting Raheem Sterling as the lone striker yet again would not be the best of ideas. Despite boasting three goals in the Premier League this season, Sterling’s finishing against Manchester United showed that the 19-year-old isn’t the best Liverpool can do in this position. Rickie Lambert is expected to be deployed as the lone striker against a Bournemouth side that is reportedly vulnerable when it comes to aerial battles.
And let’s admit it, we all want to see a little bit of Fabio Borini at any point of the match. Facing the fact that he is least likely to start over Rickie Lambert, the Italian international could step into the pitch during second half to terrorize the tiring legs of the opposition defense with his quick pace.
Is this how you would want your Liverpool starting eleven to look like against Bournemouth? Give us your opinions at the comment section below!
Oh, and let me say something on behalf of all Liverpool fans – Any sort of cameo from Jordan Rossiter will be deeply appreciated.
And does anyone remember Dan Gosling?
Yes, that Dan Gosling dude that once played for crosstown rivals Everton and scored that crazy winning goal in the 118th minute deep into extra time during the Merseyside derby encounter in the 2009 FA Cup fourth round. That late winner went on to become Everton’s ‘Goal of the Season’ that year.
Guess what? Dan Gosling is well and ready to take on Liverpool yet again, but in an AFC Bournemouth outfit this time round! Imagine the amount of gnashing of teeth and banging of heads between the Liverpool fans if this guy happens to do something similar to what he did more than 5 years ago.