Liverpool face Bournemouth on Monday night in their opening home match of the season.
Liverpool’s first home match of the 2015/16 Premier League campaign sees them host newly-promoted Bournemouth under the Anfield floodlights on Monday night.
The Reds began their campaign with an opening day 1-0 victory over Stoke City, a stark contrast in performance and result to their previous trip to the Britannia Stadium at the end of last season - when they were hammered 6-1.
Boss Brendan Rodgers seemingly learned from his previous mistakes and opted for a compact system at Stoke, though against Bournemouth the onus will be on his side to break down the visitors.
Liverpool’s back five on Sunday worked extremely hard and snuffed out the hosts, with Joe Gomez making a surprise start and Dejan Lovren selected ahead of Mamadou Sakho in the middle.
On Monday, the only change in defence Rodgers should contemplate is the inclusion of Alberto Moreno – the Spanish star has lost his way slightly at Anfield but is still a player with huge potential.
The Cherries boast an excellent right winger in Matt Ritchie who will look to attack down Liverpool’s left, therefore Moreno’s attacking intent could drive the Scotland international back, with his pace a key weapon.
Emre Can was also a bit of a surprise exclusion from Rodgers’ XI at Stoke, and there seems little reason for him to come in against Bournemouth considering Eddie Howe’s side will likely drop deep.
James Milner and Jordan Henderson have a nice balance of strength, defensive protection and attacking capabilities in the middle, and they will be tasked with providing the backbone on Monday.
Bournemouth duo Dan Gosling and Andrew Surman are excellent possession-based players, therefore playing Philippe Countinho through the middle can help the hosts control proceedings.
Monday represents a great opportunity for Christian Benteke to open his account as the Belgian international holds a big height advantage over Cherries duo Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook.
With the game being played on Monday, with the aid of an extra two-day rest, Roberto Firmino should be raring to go following his Copa America exploits and it’s an ideal game to make his Anfield debut.
The Brazilian international could form a close understanding with Coutinho, while Jordon Ibe on the opposite flank can provide the width and balls into the box for Benteke in the middle.
Ibe was slightly reserved against Stoke, yet on Monday Rodgers should urge the highly-rated youngster to get at the Bournemouth full-back and use his pace to devastating effect.