Liverpool v Bournemouth preview: Jurgen Klopp keen to tighten grip on top four
Last Updated: 14/04/18 5:23pm
Liverpool host Bournemouth in Saturday's late kick-off bidding to tighten their grip on a top-four finish.
Jurgen Klopp's side are 10 points clear of fifth-place Chelsea with five games to play, but despite their progression to the semi-final of the Champions League the German is refusing to take their remaining domestic fixtures lightly.
He said: "Because our opponents in the fight for the top four are too strong, you cannot think they will not win every game. It is possible.
"We need to be focused on Bournemouth, West Brom, Stoke, Chelsea and then Brighton. But in the specific moment we face Roma we will be ready for that game."
Bournemouth are on 38 points and are still fighting to guarantee Premier League survival, but manager Eddie Howe is not expecting any hangover from Liverpool's impressive Champions League quarter-final success over Manchester City.
"When you play for Liverpool you are used to those big games, I don't think that comes as a new thing for them, so we cant look for help from them," he said.
"We have to make sure we are right for ourselves and that is down to our preparation, making sure our players are focused on giving their best performance."
Liverpool welcome back captain Jordan Henderson after he missed Tuesday's match due to suspension.
Klopp has revealed that Nathaniel Clyne and Ragnar Klavan have picked up problems and will likely join Joel Matip (thigh) on the sidelines, but Roberto Firmino (neck) should be fine and Emre Can (back) and Adam Lallana (muscle problem) may return before the end of the season.
Bournemouth will again be without defender Adam Smith because of a knee problem, while midfielder Junior Stanislas has been ruled out for the rest of the season following knee ligament surgery.
Defender Tyrone Mings also continues his rehabilitation from a back injury.
The Cherries have only won two of their 17 away games against 'big six' opponents in the Premier League (D2 L13), with both wins coming at Chelsea (December 2015 and January 2018).
Mohamed Salah is just one goal away from becoming the eighth different player to score 30+ goals in a single Premier League season - he'd also be the first African to do so.
Josh King has scored in his last two Premier League games for Bournemouth, last netting in three in a row in March 2017.
Liverpool have won three of their five previous Premier League meetings with Bournemouth (D1 L1), including a 4-0 win in the reverse fixture in December.
Liverpool are on a high and should win this. They have enough in their squad even if there are some tired legs.
I think they will want to put the top four to bed before they start resting players. You don't want to be in a situation where you don't win the Champions League and you aren't in the top four, then the season is completely gone. If they win this they will still likely to be 10 ahead of Chelsea with four games left and you expect that to be enough, even though Chelsea have a game in hand. It should be next week they start resting players.
PAUL PREDICTS: 3-1 (9/1 with Sky Bet)