LFC vs. Bournemouth: 10 key things to know, with eyes on VAR
Liverpool are finally back at Anfield, albeit an unfinished Anfield, as they host Bournemouth in their first home game of the new Premier League season.
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth
Premier League (2) | Anfield
August 19, 2023 | 3pm by soccerTimez
Jurgen Klopp‘s side got the new campaign underway with a point at Stamford Bridge and now it is time for home comforts as Liverpool return to Anfield.
Bournemouth are the visitors and we all know what happened on their last visit, but could lightning really strike the same place twice?
Here are 10 things you need to know ahead of Liverpool’s first game back at Anfield.
1. Only 51,000 at Anfield
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Wednesday, August 16, 2023: An aerial view of Anfield, the home stadium of Liverpool Football Club, showing the ongoing construction of the new Anfield Road expansion. The redevelopment of the stand will see 7,000 more seats added taking Anfield’s overall capacity to more than 61,000. The development has been delayed until October. The club has also just been granted a Safe Standing Licence for the 2023-24 season following an application to the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) earlier this year. David
The first home game of the season was set to see over 60,000 at Anfield, but those plans were delayed some time ago and the attendance will be reduced to around 51,000.
Only the lower tier of the Anfield Road Stand will be open on Saturday, and that could remain the case for some time after the construction company responsible for the stand filed for administration.
It is a significant setback for the club but all Jurgen, his players and the fans can focus on is securing their first three points of the campaign.
2. Welcome, Endo!
Wataru Endo new signing of Liverpool at AXA Training Centre on August 18, 2023 in Kirkby, England.
It was a name from left-field and things moved quickly after the initial news broke, with Wataru Endo becoming the third signing of the summer on Friday.
The defensive midfielder can also be deployed at centre-back and with experience and leadership qualities in abundance, the 30-year-old represents a shrewd addition to the squad.
He has been registered with the Premier League, but it’s still unclear whether he has been granted a work permit in time to be available in the matchday squad.
If he is available, expect him to replace James McConnell on the bench.
3. Klopp upbeat
Most of Klopp’s press conference on Friday focussed on Endo’s arrival and potential of further transfers.
The boss insisted several times how happy he is with the Japan captain’s signing and the transfer window in general for Liverpool.
“I sit here and I’m really happy with the transfer window in this moment, our transfer window,” he said.
“I know what happened last week, I know how football fans are, and I know they would prefer to bring in a player who is £110 million or £150 million, and that your club can do that.
“That’s kind of nice but in the end, the pitch is the same size, the player will not grow with the money he costs, it’s rather the other way around.”
4. Team news for Liverpool
Curtis Jones is expected to sit this one out with an ankle issue, while neither Thiago or Stefan Bajcetic are fully fit to start games.
Klopp has decisions up front with Darwin Nunez an option there, but an unchanged XI seems most likely.
5. Bournemouth will be aggressive
BOURNEMOUTH, ENGLAND – Saturday, December 7, 2019: AFC Bournemouth’s Dominic Solanke during the FA Premier League match between AFC Bournemouth and Liverpool FC at the Vitality Stadium.
With Gary O’Neil leaving at the end of last season, Bournemouth are into unknown territory.
New manager Andoni Iraola has gained plaudits in Spain for guiding perennial strugglers Rayo Vallecano to mid-table status in La Liga.
How this success will translate to the Premier League remains to be seen. He has already stated he expects his Bournemouth team to be aggressive rather than sit off.
The Cherries have made a couple of exciting signings over the summer with Justin Kluivert arriving from Roma and exciting young midfielder, Alex Scott, signing for £25 million from Bristol City.
6. Predicted lineup
A fixture like this would be a contender for rotation normally. However, this early in the season Klopp will aim for consistency in his team selection.
While his starting XI selection meant Liverpool were exposed on the left last weekend, it shouldn’t be as much of an issue playing at Anfield.
Though Harvey Elliott staked a claim to play with a strong performance off the bench against Chelsea, we would expect Liverpool to remain unchanged for this one.
Predicted XI: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Mac Allister, Szoboszlai, Gakpo; Salah, Jota, Diaz
7. Klopp admits possession vs. Chelsea was “an absolute joke”
London, ENGLAND – Sunday, August 13, 2023: Liverpool’s manager Jürgen Klopp during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge.
Liverpool had just 35 percent possession at Stamford Bridge last week – their worst under Klopp since a 4-1 defeat at Tottenham in 2018.
“Thirty-five percent possession is an absolute joke,” admitted Klopp on Friday. “It should not happen.”
Explaining it, he highlighted how “it happened because we were too much in a rush with the ball.”
Klopp and everyone else will be expecting much better at home.
8. Did you know?
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Saturday, August 27, 2022: Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold celebrates after scoring the third goal during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and AFC Bournemouth at Anfield.
Last season’s 9-0 home win was the joint highest top-flight victory in Liverpool’s history, matching the Reds’ famous 9-0 thrashing of Crystal Palace in 1989.
At Anfield, the Reds have played Bournemouth nine times, winning eight and drawing one.
Meanwhile, Alexander-Arnold will make his 200th Premier League appearance for Liverpool. Of the current squad, only Salah (219) has played more times for the Reds in the league.
Liverpool’s first penalty award of the 2022/23 league campaign came against Bournemouth, with Salah missing from the spot in the defeat in March!
9. Paul Tierney is the VAR…
Jurgen Klopp accused referee Paul Tierney, second right, of unprofessionalism after Liverpool’s draw with Tottenham at Anfield (Peter Byrne/PA)
There is a new face taking charge of this contest for Liverpool, with Thomas Bramall taking on the responsibilities as referee. It’s his first in charge of the Reds.
The big story, though, is Paul Tierney, the official involved in a controversial clash with Klopp last season, is lead VAR, he is assisted by Constantine Hatzidakis.
That name may sound familiar, and it is. He is the assistant who elbowed Andy Robertson at half-time during the draw with Arsenal in April.
This should be fun.
10. Follow the match with soccer Timez
LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND – Saturday, May 6, 2023: Television cameras before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Brentford FC at Anfield. General.
Liverpool vs. Bournemouth is not live on TV in the UK as the 3pm blackout is still in effect.
That leaves TIA’s matchday live blog as the best place to keep up to date, Sam Millne will be providing all the updates as the Reds return to Anfield.
Into these, Liverpool.