Liverpool manager Juergen Klopp is looking for his defence to regain top form after a third loss in four games across all competitions but Saturday’s Premier League opponents Bournemouth could be more concerned about their own back line.
Leaders Liverpool were expected to respond strongly to last Saturday’s 3-0 defeat at relegation-threatened Watford — their first of the league campaign — but instead were beaten 2-0 at Chelsea in the FA Cup on Tuesday.
Those results followed last month’s 1-0 defeat at Atletico Madrid in the Champions League round of 16 and a tense 3-2 win at home against West Ham United in the league.
“Usually you don’t get a lot of chances against us, but now we have to admit that in the last three games, maybe four, we have conceded too many goals,” Klopp said.
“Look, it went our way for so long because we defended outstandingly… the boys are strong, they showed so many times a wonderful reaction and we have to show this reaction again.”
Down in 18th place, Bournemouth have lost their last five league games to Liverpool conceding 17 goals without response, and will be wary of a backlash that could hurt their hopes of escaping the drop zone.
With one hand already on the league trophy thanks to a 22-point lead over second-placed Manchester City, Liverpool will look to regain lost momentum before next week’s Champions League clash against Atletico.
MAN UNITED EYE DERBY DELIGHT
Manchester United will aim to avoid another dent in their bid for a top-four finish when they host City on Sunday and a victory will not only boost their chances but secure a rare league double over the champions.
United, who defeated City 2-1 in the league earlier in the campaign, have not managed the double over their derby rivals since the 2009-10 season when Alex Ferguson was in charge.
Despite a 1-1 draw against Everton last time out, United will fancy their chances, buoyed by the form of January signing Bruno Fernandes who has bagged three goals and two assists in all competitions since his debut last month.
“He’s lifted the place, lifted everyone around him and it’s still early days. I think he can get even better,” former United winger Ryan Giggs told Sky Sports.
City could be missing the services of their own midfield talisman Kevin De Bruyne due to a shoulder injury sustained in the League Cup final win over Aston Villa.
Trying to stay in the race for a Champions League spot, seventh-placed Tottenham Hotspur face a stern test at Burnley on Saturday, having lost their last two league matches.
Fellow contenders Wolverhampton Wanderers host Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday while third-placed Leicester City take on Villa on Monday.
Carlo Ancelotti takes his Everton side to former club Chelsea on Sunday but awaits an FA decision on whether he is banned from the dugout after being charged with misconduct in the last game.