Are Bournemouth in for another humiliation at the hands of Liverpool?
A lot has happened since Liverpool’s record-equalling 9-0 demolition of Bournemouth at Anfield back in late August.
In the intervening months, Scott Parker lost his job at Bournemouth, was appointed Club Brugge manager and has since been dismissed by the Belgians.
Liverpool meanwhile have seemingly entered complete crisis mode and come out the other side of it in devastating fashion – culminating in the ruthless 7-0 destruction of Manchester United on Sunday.
Given how the reverse fixture went, given Liverpool racked up seven against Man United and given Bournemouth are bottom of the table with the worst defensive record in the division having conceded 51 in 25 games, many will be predicting a similar outcome on the south coast.
Yet Premier League football can play out in mysterious ways and Bournemouth are a different proposition at home having only lost to Manchester City in the league in 2023.
Jurgen Klopp’s men won just one of their next four Premier League games after the 9-0 Bournemouth win meanwhile and this season has taught us Liverpool’s results are anything but easy to predict.
How will Bournemouth react from their Emirates heartbreak?
Saturday’s 3-2 home victory was the most dramatic of victories for Arsenal but inversely, the most heartbreaking of defeats for Bournemouth.
After Reiss Nelson’s 98th-minute half-volley roared past Neto in the Bournemouth goal for the winner, Arsenal’s players veered off in wild celebration while Cherries players lay strewn on the floor, hands on heads.
Gary O’Neil’s side had taken the lead after only nine seconds – the second-quickest Premier League goal ever – when Phillip Billing poked home after a clever kick-off routine
And excitement turned to belief when Marco Senesi doubled Bournemouth’s lead from a corner 11 minutes into the second half to give the bottom side hope of securing a shock result.
Yet despite manful defensive work as Arsenal unleashed shot after shot on the Bournemouth goal – 31 of them in total – the Cherries resistance was broken at the very last.
Now O’Neil, who described the defeat as a “devastating” way to lose, has a task on his hands to get his players up for the visit of Liverpool and build on the good things at the Emirates rather than be despondent at the heartbreaking way it ended.
Are Liverpool really back this time?
It was a chastening start to the calendar year for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool men as they claimed just one win – an FA Cup third-round replay victory – from seven matches in all competitions to begin 2023.
That miserable run began with the 3-1 defeat at Brentford and included 3-0 losses at Wolves and Brighton in the Premier League – the latter Klopp described as the worst performance of his coaching career.
Liverpool appeared to recover with a Merseyside derby win over Everton and a 2-0 win at Newcastle but a Champions League hammering at home to Real Madrid set Klopp’s men right back to square one.
Sunday’s 7-0 hammering of long-standing rivals Manchester United at Anfield – one of the most shocking results in Premier League history – could finally be the catalyst that sparks Liverpool back into life.
It followed a 2-0 home win over Wolves and means Liverpool are now just three points off fourth-placed Tottenham with a game in hand over Antonio Conte’s side.
This season looks to have hallmarks of the 2020/21 campaign when Liverpool were way off the pace in the race for the Champions League places only to recover with a spectacular late run to secure a spot in the competition.
Klopp will certainly be hoping his men can summon the spirit of two seasons ago and place in the Premier League top four.