Liverpool Fan View: 3 keys battles against Bournemouth

Lucas Leiva v Jack Wishere

Lucas Leiva was handed a starting spot for the visit of Everton on Saturday afternoon. The thinking behind the Brazilian’s inclusion was to deny Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku space in front of the back four. Jurgen Klopp’s tactics worked well. Barkley became increasingly frustrated, as highlighted by his reckless approach to the derby. Lukaku was quiet throughout the Anfield clash. While Barkley is recognised as one of England’s great prospects, Lucas will come up against the Evertonian’s predecessor in the shape of Jack Wilshere. The midfielder was billed as a Paul Gascoigne type player when he burst onto the scene but injury problems have hampered his development. Thriving in the Bournemouth side, Lucas will need to produce another astute performance to stop Wilshere poking holes in the Liverpool defence.

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James Milner v Ryan Fraser

James Milner is one Liverpool player who won’t have forgotten their trip to Bournemouth back in December. The former England international had been widely praised for his performances in an unorthodox left-back role before that Vitality Stadium clash. And Milner was doing fine on the south coast until the introduction of Ryan Fraser in the second half. The Scotland international ran Milner ragged with his direct approach and pace, even scooping the man of the match award for helping Bournemouth to come from 3-1 down to win 4-3.

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Philippe Coutinho v Adam Smith

With Adam Lallana and Sadio Mane both sidelined with injury, the onus will be on Philippe Coutinho to be the decisive player for Liverpool. It is a pressure that the Brazil international has become accustomed to in recent seasons after making significant progress under Jurgen Klopp. However, the signing of Mane and Lallana’s real emergence as a force in the Premier League have helped ease the pressure on Coutinho’s shoulders. However, Lallana and Mane are both set for a prolonged spell on the sidelines which means its up to Coutinho to continue his recent form. The South American will come up against Adam Smith who has proven himself a dependable Premier League defender since Bournemouth’s promotion to the top flight.

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