Football: Reds take on Cherries after Europa exploits

Dejan Lovren (right) celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the Uefa Europa league quarter-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.
Dejan Lovren (right) celebrates after scoring the winning goal during the Uefa Europa league quarter-final second leg football match between Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund.PHOTO: AFP

BOURNEMOUTH • Fresh from one of the most remarkable comebacks in their history, Liverpool return to domestic duty with a trip to the seaside to face Bournemouth for only the second time in a Premier League fixture.

Thursday's 4-3 home win over Borussia Dortmund will go down in Liverpool folklore alongside their 2005 Champions League final win in Istanbul as one of the club's great European triumphs.

But the contrast between a packed Anfield with close to 43,000 supporters hitting fever pitch and Bournemouth's 11,500-capacity stadium on the genteel south coast could hardly be greater.

Eighth-placed Liverpool still need the points to try and guarantee European football via the Premier League next season and cannot afford to relax in the aftermath of their stunning European exploits.

However, Reds manager Juergen Klopp admits that he will be rotating his team in view of the Merseyside derby against Everton on Wednesday.

"We have to make changes for sure," he said.

"Bournemouth have played a lot less games. But we'll go there to try to win with what we have."

The German also put in words of praise for Dejan Lovren and Daniel Sturridge, who both impressed against Dortmund.

"I don't have a bad word to say about Dejan Lovren. The Sakho goal was only possible because of Sturridge's movement from the corner. He also played a key pass for Lovren's goal."

Liverpool have lost just one of their last 13 games and are looking to complete a league double over Bournemouth, who they also knocked out of the League Cup, in the Cherries' first season in the top flight.

Eddie Howe's side are hunting a top-half position but are without striker Benik Afobe due to a hamstring problem.

Even though safety is all but assured with 41 points to their name, Howe is refusing to accept that and will not allow his side's standards to drop.

"Every game is of huge importance, regardless of what your individual targets were at the start of the season," he said.

"There are big games coming up for the football club against some of the bigger names in the division, so we want to do ourselves proud."

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on April 17, 2016, with the headline 'Reds take on Cherries after Europa exploits'. Print Edition | Subscribe