Liverpool are big favourites to extend their unbeaten run in the Premier League to 33 matches when they visit the Vitality Stadium to face Bournemouth on Saturday.
The Reds are bossing the title race, entering Week 16 of the 2019/20 season with an eight-point cushion at the top. Goals aren't in short supply after Wednesday's 5-2 win over Everton in the Merseyside derby, but Liverpool are developing a nasty habit of conceding, having failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight league matches.
Exploiting any issues at the back could be a problem for the Cherries, though, since Eddie Howe's men are on a four-match losing skid and have scored just 18 times through 15 games. Even so, centre-forward Callum Wilson has the talent to punish the Liverpool defence.
Date: Saturday, December 7
Time: 3 p.m. GMT/10 a.m. ET
TV Info: NBCSN
Live Stream: NBC Sports App
- Bournemouth: +550 (bet $100 to win $550)
- Liverpool: -225 (bet $225 to win $100)
- Draw: +400
Odds per Caesars.
Bournemouth should fear a Liverpool team that was mostly rested in midweek. Mohamed Salah didn't make it off the bench against the Toffees, while, Roberto Firmino only came on for a brief cameo as a 73rd-minute substitute.
Fortunately for the leaders, Sadio Mane took the initiative in Salah's absence, assisting two goals and scoring another:
Mane may be close to usurping Salah in importance, but the latter is still a talisman in the final third who can get goals in bunches. The Egypt international has found the net six times in the league so far this season while dealing with an ongoing ankle problem.
Keeping Mane and Salah quiet won't be easy for a Bournemouth side leaking goals on a regular basis. The Cherries shipped three to Tottenham Hotspur recently and have conceded 21 already.
In Wilson, Howe at least has a player who knows where the net is. The 27-year-old is quick, technically gifted and also strong enough to play his back to goal.
Getting creative winger Ryan Fraser involved will be key. The Scot's contract is running down, but he's likely to be recalled to the starting XI in place of Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson.
Another former Liverpool prospect, striker Dominic Solanke, could torment his former club, even if he and Wilson ultimately won't be able to keep pace with Salah and Co.