3 things Liverpool must do to ensure victory at Bournemouth

  • Liverpool travel to Bournemouth in the Premier League on Sunday afternoon
  • The Reds have a slender lead at the top of the Premier League table
  • Bournemouth have collected 18 points from their last eight league games
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool can scarcely afford to drop points with Manchester City gathering a head of steam
Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool can scarcely afford to drop points with Manchester City gathering a head of steam / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

Liverpool have already beaten Bournemouth twice this season but the Reds will line up against a very different side at the Vitality Stadium on Sunday.

Jurgen Klopp succinctly summed up the transformative impact Andoni Iraola has had from the Bournemouth bench over the past six weeks with a single word: "Wow." The former Rayo Vallecano manager didn't win his first Premier League game until the tenth attempt but the complex system that has served him so well throughout his career has well and truly clicked.

The Cherries won six of their final eight Premier League games of 2023 and have enjoyed a two-week break to prepare for their first top-flight outing of the year.

Liverpool have had ten days off themselves but will be without several key players, be that through injury or international commitment, for the trip to the south coast.

Here's what Klopp and his team may need to do to earn a third victory of the season over Bournemouth.

Remain patient

Darwin Nunez
Liverpool love a speculative effort / Clive Brunskill/GettyImages

The virtuous nature of patience has been espoused by humans since the 14th century. Yet, the lesson remains as pertinent as ever - particularly for this iteration of Liverpool.

Only Fulham and Sheffield United average shots from a longer range than Liverpool this season, with the Reds willing to let rip from outside the penalty at any excuse.

"They are really good, really compact," Klopp warned of Bournemouth. "That's proper." Faced with a mass of organised black and red stripes, Liverpool's trigger-happy squad will be constantly tempted to take aim from range.

Liverpool have enough talented players to ensure that some efforts fly in. Such as during the 4-3 victory over Fulham, when the Merseysiders appeared to be conducting their personal goal-of-month competition with four spectacular strikes.

Yet, more often than not, this impatience doesn't bear fruit. Just look to the frustrating goalless draw against Manchester United. After watching 34 mostly speculative strikes fail to beat Andre Onana, Klopp sighed: "One or two times we were a bit unlucky and in other moments we were not calm enough, a bit too much in a rush."

Give Curtis Jones the keys to midfield

Curtis Jones
Curtis Jones will be crucial to Liverpool's success against Bournemouth / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

In the absence of Japan's Wataru Endo as well as the injured two of Dominic Szoboszlai and Trent Alexander-Arnold, Curtis Jones quickly becomes Liverpool's most important central cog. If he wasn't already.

The 22-year-old has been unshackled in recent weeks, racking up four goals across his previous six appearances while regularly crashing into the opposition box. This added goal threat will be imperative with Mohamed Salah's prolific edge away at AFCON but Jones cannot simply set up camp in the final third.

Up against Bournemouth's painstakingly choreographed press, Liverpool will also need Jones' nerveless composure on the ball in his own half. Klopp has hailed Jones as an example for the team off the ball as well. "His pressing, counter-pressing," the German gushed, "he sets the level, actually."

"Curtis is super-important to us, and he knows that," Klopp said earlier this month. Never has that been truer than on Sunday.

Watch out for familiar faces

Dominic Solanke
Dominic Solanke has been in electric form for Bournemouth of late / Naomi Baker/GettyImages

"I'm so happy for Dom," Klopp insisted ahead of Liverpool's reunion with former striker Dominic Solanke. Yet, the German may not be quite so cheery if the English forward extends his red-hot form on Sunday.

Across 21 appearances for Liverpool, Solanke offered just one goal in red. "He was probably not the most clinical yet but the talent was obvious," Klopp conceded. "It was the right decision to go to Bournemouth, last season he scored enough goals but this season he is up there with the greatest."

Solanke boasts eight goals across his last eight appearances for the Cherries, thriving at the sharp end of an attack geared around taking advantage of high turnovers. Bournemouth have scored six times after winning the ball within 40 metres of the opposition goal, a figure unrivalled by any Premier League team and double what Liverpool have managed.