The Premier League continues its 'mid-season player break', with five more games taking place over the weekend. There are two games on Sunday, with the big late afternoon game (16:30) at the Gtech Community Stadium, where AFC Bournemouth take on Liverpool. We've previewed this one and given you our betting predictions.
Both sides will benefit from a two week rest, following the new winter break and Bournemouth will be looking to bounce back following a tough 3-1 defeat to Tottenham. Prior to that, the Cherries had been on a fabulous run, winning four straight under Andoni Iraola and have risen to 12th in the table. Now they face their toughest test in this winter run, taking on a Liverpool side that are unbeaten since September in the league.
Jurgen Klopp had some terrible news in midweek, as talisman striker Mohamed Salah limped off with a hamstring injury at the Africa Cup of Nations, while playing for his national side, Egypt. That could mean that the enforced few weeks omission could turn into a longer, potentially more harmful absence.
As mentioned, the Reds have been on a phenomenal run of form and have shot to the top of the Premier League table, two points above long time rivals Manchester City. They will need to keep winning as the Cityzens are putting together one of their trademark festive season runs themselves.
Iraola has a number of players unavailable, with as many as six players injured, as well as missing Marcos Senesi through suspension and both Antoine Semenyo and Dango Ouattara on international duty.
Klopp also has similar numbers out, with Salah and Wataru Endo away with their international teams and Trent Alexander-Arnold one of seven players out with injury.
To no ones surprise, Bournemouth come into this match as 10/3 outsiders, with Liverpool a pretty tidy 7/10 fav. The draw is available at 16/5.
Goals look to be a virtual certainty with over 2.5 priced at just 4/9. Both teams look likely to score and is backable at 1/2.
Liverpool to win and Both teams to score - 9/5
The Reds have a tough period coming up without Salah and that could now potentially be longer than they originally thought.
However, the Merseyside club have managed without the diminutive wing-forward before and they can do again. Darwin Nunez may frustrate by the bucketload but he is a real handful and creates a huge amount of chances.
With Salah out, much will fall on the additional firepower of Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo to make up the shortfall and I think they can do so here on the south coast.
However, Bournemouth are a real tough test at the Vitality and I think they will definitely make it hard work for Klopp's men.
Dominic Solanke first goalscorer - 5/1
One man who will contribute to that threat is ex-Liverpool striker Dominic Solanke, who is having a career season with Bournemouth.
After thrashing in 29 goals, as Bournemouth were promoted back to the Premier League in 2022, the 26-year-old originally struggled to achieve the same in the top tier, scoring just six times last season. In 2023/24 though, he has been a revelation, netting 12 goals in just 19 matches and is only just behind Erling Haaland and Salah at the top of the goal scoring charts. I like his chances of getting Bournemouth off to a fast start here.
Betfred are also running their famed Double Delight/Hat-Trick Heaven on this match too, meaning should Solanke score first and then goes on to bag a brace, you would be paid at double the odds (10/1). If he nets a hat trick, you would receive treble the odds (15/1)!
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