Saturday, 31 October 2015

The Cherries have had darker hours than this

While matters on the pitch have not been going well they are not really anything like the days when AFCB were 45 minutes from going out of the league. A couple of 5-1 hammerings has made it difficult to go into work with a smile on the face, but take a second and look at where AFC Bournemouth are playing. These are not quite little teams AFCB are up against are not from the backwaters. They are teams that are playing in European Cup competitions and they know how to punish teams that are fragile.

The Liverpool performance should have blown some of the cobwebs away now and it can be viewed as a bit of a fresh start on Sunday against Southampton. For the Cherries it should be work as usual. Some top teams were going to batter them. The good thing is that the Cherries had a big hand in their own downfall on both occasions, and so there are things that they themselves can put right to get better results. It is not that AFCB were out played and simply overstretched by the skill of Man City or Spurs, they handed goals to these teams and their strikers simply accepted what was on offer. Against Southampton they have to do better.
Artur has to conquer his demons, but perhaps with his thigh injury he is best to keep
out of the limelight for a bit to gather his thoughts and his form again..
While Liverpool did not have their full first team out in the League Cup there was a reasonable amount of Premier League experience in their side compared to the Cherries and there was lots to take away from that game. It's time to look forward now and to see what AFCB can achieve against their near rivals. Being an away fixture is probably a good thing as it will be fresh scenery at St Mary's and hopefully a good vibe around the pitch being a derby. The players need to feed on that and look at the history of when the clubs in head to heads as they will see our fans are in need of a smattering of success against the Saints.

Probable AFCB team: (4-4-1-1) Federici, Francis, Cook, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter, Surman, Pugh, King, Murray.

Bench: Allsop, Bennett, Cargill, Gosling, Smith, Stanislas, Tomlin

Look out tomorrow for the Cherry Chimes' November Newsletter which brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article about whether AFCB should set a target: 17 points by Xmas?

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George Weah's Cousin is glad of the El Clasicoast derby

Rival Lines
Premier League
Match Preview: Southampton v AFCB
Blogger Interview: George Weah's Cousin
Twitter @gwcdotcom

After some heavy defeats I have been rather apprehensive about talking about Southampton who we play next. If there is a team I really don't want to lose to it is the Saints, but it is about pride for our beloved Cherries. So when I asked Chris Ryan the author of the famous George Weah's Cousin blog a few questions about the Saints, I hoped he would not feel too confident of a big score for the Saints at the weekend. Pleasingly, even some Saint fans are just happy to see AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League.

CC: I'd better ask what is the story behind the unusual name of your blog?

GWC: I wanted a different name for my blog, and one that might reflect the fact that I never wanted it to be taken too seriously. So I decided to make it a tribute to one of the silliest moments in Saints history; when Graeme Souness signed Ali Dia purely on the basis that he said he was 'George Weah's cousin'. The rest is history!

CC: What do you think is characteristic about the Saints under Ronald Koeman that perhaps was not there under Pochettino?

GWC: The ability to adapt and change tactics dependent on the situation. Pochettino never did that. The football under him was great, but became predictable and several teams worked it out. Koeman will happily go against his philosophies for the good of a result.

CC: Pelle has been brilliant for you but do you think he is an unfashionable kind of striker?

GWC: Yes and No. Someone described him as the perfect mix of 'Old fashioned English style centre forward' and 'Fancy Dan foreigner' which I think sums him up well. He can often look a little awkward, but his hold up play is so important to us and his goal record speaks for itself. If Harry Kane scored some of the goals Pelle has you'd never hear the end of it....

CC: How do you feel about the Saint's home form - inconsistent?

GWC: I think so. It's strange because we've not been beaten on the road yet. I think last season's success brought a new level of expectation and perhaps the home crowd is resonating that. We're still gelling though and I think the best is yet to come this season.

CC: Do Saint's fans still get a rough deal when it comes to knowing what is going on at your club? (I'm thinking about your rather irregular fan forums here)

GWC: Not at all. I think we have one of the most open managers and both the technical director (Les Reed) and Chairman (Ralph Krueger) are often making statements on strategy etc. Personally I find the idea of the 'fans forum' a little outdated, and dare I say it.... 'Small time.'

In our recent one, the panel were asked why someone who has a season ticket doesn't get any sort of discount scheme for merchandise etc? The next question was, why we don't tie players to longer term deals to prevent them leaving? Most football fans don't understand business and economics unfortunately. Maybe I'm harsh. but a guaranteed seat for less than the total of the asking price for all games is incentive enough for a Season Ticket isn't it?

CC: Jose Fonte continues to impress but are you surprised that other clubs did not come in for him last summer?

GWC: Not really. There was talk of Villa being interested but he's 31 now and I don't think he'd want to go to be honest. He's made a very good captain and doesn't get half the credit he should have in comparison to the mercenaries Lovren and Alderweireld.

CC: Has Virgil van Dijk impressed since his move from Celtic in the summer?

GWC: I had high expectations of him to be honest, but I've still been surprised. He is brilliant in the air, and also very good with the ball at his feet. I think he has a massive future and no doubt Saints will make a huge profit on him at some point.

CC: I expect you have seen the Cherries recent performances, but do you think Artur Boruc is still one of the best keepers you have had at the Saints?

GWC: He was very good for us (with the occasional meltdown thrown in) but I'm not sure I'd go as far as on the best. After a shaky start we looked far steadier at the back with Forster in goal. The great thing about Boruc is, his mistakes don't seem to knock his confidence at all.

CC: Mahrez of Leicester cause you a lot of problem down the left side in the second half of that match and AFC Bournemouth has Matt Ritchie coming at you in that position - a cause for concern?

GWC: He's your dangerman of that I have no doubt. My biggest concern is that we have a bad habit of backing off players with a good record of scoring from distance, and Ritchie certainly comes into that category. I'd wager Sadio Mane will cause your back four more problems than Ritchie does ours though.

CC: Is it strange to think of AFC Bournemouth in the Premier League and is it good for Southampton to have a local derby even if it isn't Pompey?

GWC: Considering I went to watch Luton v Bournemouth at Kenilworth Road only 7 years ago when both sides were in danger of losing their league status it certainly makes it strange. In terms of having a local 'derby', there is no denying that there will be interest in the game, that's natural, and yes with Pompey looking far from getting their act together it will be a refreshing change. It is a really boring subject to talk about a 'rivalry' between the two clubs though as historically it has never been the case. There are three types of Saints fan I think, the majority who see Bournemouth as a pseudo second club (a lot of these are from Dorset), the minority who are embracing this as a chance to generate something to fill the Pompey void and then those like me who are indifferent. At the moment you are just one of 19 teams in our way. Who knows though, if you can maintain your status in the Premier League for a few years it might heat up, I certainly like the idea of Pompey being sacked as rivals.

CC: Thanks Chris for some good memories and some better understanding for us AFCB fans on how the Saints are feeling ahead of the game. The Cherries record is not too good at St Mary's but I am hoping for a close game as that way you are unlikely to put five past us. Do check out the Saints take on Bournemouth on George Weah's Cousin as it talks about how many goals the Saints might get!! And it's a competition so at least we can nab some prizes off the Saint's fans.

An unashamed plug from me as well 
By the way, I have written some lines about the Southampton and AFC Bournemouth derby, rivalry or is it just brotherly love? It should be published in the Sunday Observer this weekend ahead of the game.

Koeman will feel he has the edge on Howe

Ronald Koeman may not have been at Southampton nearly as long as Eddie Howe has been at Bournemouth, but the Dutchman will feel he has the experience to keep his near rivals at arm's length and come out on top. Having managed at teams such as Ajax, Benfica and Feyenoord amongst others, Koeman has a great grasp of the continental game and with a distinguished international playing career himself he is a heavyweight among managers in the modern game.

Eddie will look t beat one of the best football
brains in the game when he takes on Koeman.
So what chance might Eddie Howe have of toppling the Saints and getting one over Ronald? You can't knock Koeman's pedigree and the Saint's talented crop of players. Eddie certainly has a hard task and sometimes us fans don't acknowledge that he is also learning this season in the Premier League as well as his players. Each bit of information he can tap out of playing these teams though is going to give him ideas to work on, and while we have seen the Cherries well beaten in some games it is those kind of matches that will enable Eddie to find something to add to AFCB's style of play. Anyone of those ideas could become a successful one and he'll be looking to set his side up with some extra motivation against the Saints.

Koeman's time at Southampton has been on an upward curve. While he has not won a cup he has led taken them into Europe and won the Premier League manager of the month title twice since his arrival in June 2014. He has seen some top players leave the Saints, but has brought in fabulous quality like Jordie Claise, Saido Mane and Duscan Tadic.

At the moment Southampton are six points ahead of the Cherries in eighth place. The gap seems much bigger than that between the two clubs. However, a win for Eddie Howe's side would be a massive achievement not only for the team but also for Eddie Howe personally. Eddie's record against Southampton has not been strong and that will already be grating on him. Beating Koeman would be a big boost for him and having already beaten one Dutch manager this season he could already make it an early double Dutch. 

Later this morning I'll be putting a Rival Lines' post up with Southampton Blog - George Weah's Cousin as we build up to the derby match. 

Look out tomorrow as well for the Cherry Chimes' November Newsletter which brings you the best stories on the blog and the thoughts behind them from last month, plus there is a special Newsletter article about whether AFCB should set a target: 17 points by Xmas?

To sign up for the newsletter just complete the form below:

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Friday, 30 October 2015

Visiting Anfield and Goodison on a tight schedule

When you make the trip to one of football's most prestigious cities it is hard not to go and glimpse at what the other side has to offer their fans. Liverpool of course is one of those cities with two big teams and so before we drove up the M6 and M62 we had already decided that our first stop should be located somewhere close to Stanley Park so that we could walk to both Anfield and Goodison Park before AFCB's Capital One Cup tie.
Our early view of Anfield.
So when we had parked up within a mile of the grounds, and yes it took a short while to find a road where we would not need a permit or a road without any yellow lines, but we found a safe spot and headed towards the red stadium. You can't fail to see the new development standing out from some distance away as two or three big cranes sit behind the stand extension and dominate the skyline. Giant posters of the current players were situated on the walls but not in celebration of silverware, just pictures of them sitting slumped down in the changing room - hardly energising or triumphant.
It's an impressive entrance
Bill Shankly greets everyone who comes in.
We went through the Paisley Gates and studied the Bill Shankly statue before making our way into the club shop. It was a long shop with a step down to a lower level. The boys found a tunnel to walk through which was like getting ready to enter the pitch. I just thought it was a shame they had not put the club badge above at the end so that the kids could reach up and touch it just like the real players do at Anfield when they come down the steps from the changing rooms. We picked up a programme and asked about the trophies which were kept upstairs in the museum. Our time did not allow for a walk down memory lane for me and the great Liverpool teams, but it gives me something to go back for I thought.
Tunnel walk.
The expansion is to be completed next summer.
It's a monster development.
We decided to take a closer look at the extension going onto the Main stand. It was a gigantic project that had a width that must have been about the length of two buses parked ended on end. As for the height it was staggering and above the current stand. A steward tried to explain to us with the aid of my programme that the park area (around the dugout) would be extended and more seats fitted in at the base of the current stand, while the gradient of seats would extend naturally from the current stand onto the extension. He said this would mean fans would not feel too far away from the pitch, but it certainly looked like they would be up in the gods.

Just in case you forgot in which half of Liverpool you are now in.
Everton's club shop is situated just across the road from the ground.
Having felt we had a good idea about what Anfield would look like in the future, we asked about the quickest way to Goodison Park, hoping that the steward would not be too offended. He clearly enjoyed the question and sent us up the road to the traffic lights and then down the hill towards Stanley Park. Once we had reached there he said we would probably be able to smell Everton from there! Nothing like a bit of friendly rivalry is there? Don't worry we spoke to an Everton fan later who was equally complimentary about the red side of town.
Another closer up view of the Toffees' club shop.
As we reached the main dual carriage way leading to Goodison Park we noted that the street was decorated with Everton banners at every lamp post. We really felt that this was an area of town that had been claimed. The club shop came into view next and it was a strange building shaped on the kind of tower that Everton has on its crest. their club motto was written large across the entrance and the full length poster images of current players certainly made the impression that any visiting player would feel dominated by the look of the opponents. While it was a smaller shop than at Liverpool there was something much more organised about it in that everything had its place and the emphasis was on passion for the team. I liked the picture of Graham sharp with the UEFA Cup Winner's trophy (I think that's right) and the hair styles! As we left we saw the modern away kit which was a offish green colour. It's still not growing on me.
When Everton were on top in 1985.
Robert checks out Everton's away kit. I guess
we will see that at Dean Court soon!
We had noticed the tributes for Howard Kendall from some distance away. They were all carefully presented at the foot of the Dixie-Dean statue in front of the main gates and it was really moving as you can see from the pictures. There were lots of scarfs left on the gates and you could certainly feel Everton's great loss, but I felt it was important that we come and see the messages and wreaths. I know Eddie Howe was a big supporter of Everton and Howard Kendall and I am pleased we took the time to go to Goodison Park.
Fabulous tributes to Howard Kendall on the Dixie Dean statue and gates at Goodison.
Walking between the ground on our way back to the car we came across a pub called the The New King Harry which had lots of posters up advertising the evening's game that would be broadcast on TV. I took it as an omen that Harry Arter might be grabbing the headlines in the morning, and while he started the game and played well it would be Liverpool fans that would be celebrating again. We had high hopes though and when we eat dinner in the city centre we were served by an ardent Everton fan who saw our Bournemouth shirts and was rather keen on us getting a result that night as his team had already got through against Norwich City.
Surely, it is a good omen for Harry Arter.
Nobody could say they didn't know there was a game on.
Fancy this view from your bedroom?
The Albert pub at Anfield and the players' poster -Hold nothing back.
The scarf sellers were out early and in force.
In the evening we were back at Anfield for the game having caught a local bus from the city centre. We went over to the areas we had not seen earlier and viewed the plaque for the 96 in memory of the lives lost in the Hillsborough tragedy which was touched by many a Liverpool fan before a match. It was good to know that fans think about them everyday and there are scarves everywhere still calling for justice for the 96. A bit further along there are posters of some of the favourite past players like Kevin Keegan and Jimmy Case, and in front of won we saw a registration plate that looked very much like it might have belonged to Stan Collymore, but I was not sure if the presenter and former Liverpool player was at the game that night. Around the corner we came to the family park where there was a stage and all kinds of food and drink to buy. The mascot was also getting a photo or two taken with the kids and it was a good atmosphere building.
The Radio City Tower.
The  memorial for the 96 - never forgotten.
I remember him!
The Liverpool mascot has a busy evening.
Further references to the 96.
The Kop end.
The atmosphere builds.

Liverpool fans sing You'll Never Walk Alone, and of course we join in.

Once in the ground we had a fairly good view but for one post which was rather close to our eye line of one of the goals but we could lean enough to shift our gaze round it when required. I got busy taking photos as the players came out and interviewed Sam, a Cherries fan. The local Merseyside radio station updated me on the Liverpool team which did not seem as strong as last time we played them and I was hopeful of a good result with Arter back in the team. While it was a narrow defeat, we came out of the ground a lot more content than we had been when leaving Dean Court last weekend. The problem now was in finding a bus back and after walking about a mile we found a bus stop and waited probably another half hour before we squeezed and I mean squeezed onto a bus going back to the centre.
The rest of our trip included an overnight stay and we enjoyed visiting the Albert Docks and the town centre as well as taking various pictures of everything 'Beatles', from the yellow submarine to the Magical Mystery Tour Bus, the Beatles's museum and The Cavern. We could not leave out the Royal Liver building either before starting the long drive back south.  
The Royal Liver building in the skyline.
The wheel and the Echo Arena looking on from Albert Docks
Yes, they did have a yellow submarine.
10 O'clock time for a late breakfast.
Had to check out the Beatles.
And the Cavern Club
Breakfast at last for the boys and me and talk about whether we
can avoid Liverpool in the draw for the FA Cup this season, just so that we can get to Wemebley.
The Magical Mystery Tour takes AFCB to Southampton next,
 but Chimes' next away trip will be Swansea.

Positivity returns to the Cherries' play

Eddie Howe could not hide his pleasure in seeing how well the Cherries took the game to Liverpool in the Capital One Cup in a night that was never going to be easy for a revamped team. While Liverpool had made a lot of changes they still had quality in those positions and AFCB were playing on the back of two disappointing performances. The challenge was for players to try and press a case for a starting spot in forthcoming games as well as try and get AFCB through to the next round.
AFCB warming up at Anfield.
The way that the side went forward and created chances was much more considered in this match. Having Simon Francis move into a centre back place may have been unusual to see but he coped for the main, and with Tommy Elphick out for a while it does give Howe the option of moving Simon in there when either Cook or Distin need a rest. In some ways I was expecting to see Baily Cargill get the nod for the role, but if Eddie is thinking about playing Francis at centre back in a Premier League game, then I can see why Cargill missed out this time. 

I had also thought that Harry Arter would play and I was equally impressed with what he brought to the team on the night. He worked extremely hard and looked better than some of the others when he was taken off after 70 minutes. He and MacDonald provided a good barrier to Liverpool through the middle, and I felt their performances were what gave the team the basis to push attacks for most of the evening. At times the team found it difficult to get out of their half, but there were no rash decisions and the players were calm in trying to make progress up the pitch when Liverpool pressed high.

The forward positions were perhaps less spectacular for the Cherries on the night. Junior Stanislas showed that he can get in scoring positions but is not taking the chances, while Kermorgant found it difficult to have much influence on the game. I would have preferred to see more of Tokelo Rantie and there was one instance when TK was almost slipped through by Ritchie in the last 10 minutes that would have been testing for Bogdan if only one of the Liverpool defenders had not read the pass. 

So all in all, a positive evening despite the result. The picture on players and positions is changing fast at the moment and there is a bit of choice for Eddie now going into the derby with Southampton. 

Later today I'll post an update on how my two boys and I got on in Liverpool when we went up for the match earlier this week. 

Federici has done enough to displace Boruc

A few weeks ago it would have been unthinkable to believe that Artur Boruc would be under any pressure to keep his number one jersey at AFCB. However, a series of mistakes have given some cause for concern that he might not be quite in the right place to be the best man to keep goal against Southampton, in AFC Bournemouth's first Premier League clash against the Polish keeper's former club. It's a tough call for Eddie Howe, but it is one that I now feel he'll probably make.

Boruc is not going to be one of those keepers that wants to hide when things don't go his way. He'll want to get out there and remind Southampton fans that he should not have been let go by them and would want to remind AFCB fans that he is still up for the number one shirt. The argument for him is that familiarity with the defenders is not built overnight, and in important games you pick the man who has been there for you in the past. 
Adam Federici at Liverpool.
A few days ago I thought that to replace Boruc just make the side even more unsettled, but the manager can't reward performances like we all saw against Spurs and Watford. While he'll know what this game means to Artur and that it would be difficult to deny him the opportunity to set matters straight, it would be a fair decision after what we saw from Adam Federici up at Anfield. The time will come when Boruc is able to redeem himself on the pitch, but I don't think this match is the right time with so much pressure on his return and three vital Premier League points up for grabs.

Federici has also had his problems when he had a late cal up to face Man City, and the big stage has not proved any easier for him to be on at times if we look back to his FA Cup semi-final last season. Keepers make mistakes and they show up more than anywhere else on the pitch. Now Adam has got a good game under his belt though and he has shown that he is ready on his performance at Liverpool. It's time for Federici to do his stuff.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Clyne ends Cherries' Capital One Cup run 1-0

Match Report
Liverpool 1 v 0 AFCB
28 October 2015
Attendance: 41,948
Kolo Toure leads the Liverpool players down the line.
AFCB travelled to Anfield in hope of a bit of relief after their recent games and a better performance. They managed to up their game for sure, and with Liverpool making nine changes and giving a couple of players their debut, there was a possibility of really taking the game to the hosts. The presence of Harry Arter in midfield was certainly a boost and with Stanislas playing in behind Yann Kermorgant, the Cherries caused plenty of problems for Liverpool. However, it was the talent of Jordan Ibe and Roberto Firmino that gave Liverpool an attack that purred at times, and on 17 minutes Divok Origi broke through after an Ibe run and back heeled the ball past Federici, only for Adam Smith to clear off the line. Unfortunately for AFCB, Nathaniel Clyne was on hand to ram the ball home from close in, and while the Cherries pushed all match to get an equaliser, their best chances came early, and Junior Stanislas was the player that probably will have most to regret about not slipping the ball past Adam Bogdan. Fans got to see Tokelo Rantie in the last few minutes, but most pleasing of all is that there were no moments of dangerous hesitation at the back and the 1-0 cup defeat was a vast improvement on recent outings.
The 96 remembered.
Another massive flag in the Kop.
More pictures are now up on Match Day Gallery.

The team news was a little surprising, but it was a fairly strong AFCB line up. Andrew Surman was an absentee and a possible doubt for Sunday's match against Southampton. Simon Francis was moved to centre back with Adam Smith starting at right back. Arter replaced Surman and MacDonald made up the other side of the centre midfield pairing with Junior Stanislas playING in the number 10 role with Yann Kermorgant up front. Steve Cook and Lee Tomlin were among the subs.
AFC Bournemouth stride towards the cameras.
AFCB fan Sam gives his view prematch on Cherry Chimes FanCam.

It's kick off time.
The game started very abruptly with Firmino shooting wide in the first minute. AFCB regained their composure though and very quickly looked up for the fight. Ritchie sent a cross over that Pugh just missed out on.The Cherries then saw Stanislas have a fantastic chance. Arter had won the ball around the half way mark and had threaded Stanislas in to his left. Having stepped inside one man it looked like Junior was set to score but he hit his shot too close to Bogdan who made the save with his legs. 

Liverpool started to reassert a bit of authority when Distin sliced a clearance which went out for the first corner. Federici chose to punch the ball clear, which was unorthodox but it did the job. Bournemouth were starting to get Arter on the ball a lot and he had a shot blocked on 14 minutes.

Jordan Ibe looked a challenge for Charlie Daniels to keep up with on the wing and he made a good ball into Firmino who got Federici to pull off his first big save tipping over the well hit shot for a corner.  Liverpool were starting to drive the game more and on 17 minutes Firmino played a crisp ball through to Origi to run on to, and as Federici came out he  backed heeled a shot towards goal. Smith was quick thinking and had run back to cover, clearing off the line but Nathan Clyne had the whole goal to aim out with Federici still not back and he finished smartly to put Liverpool 1-0 up.

AFCB came straight back through and Arter shot that went wide. Marc Pugh then got in the box and created a chance for Stanislas that he headed but Bogdan saved. Kermorgant was finding it hard to get involved, but Ritchie and Pugh were finding space on the wings to deliver crosses.

Problems for Liverpool came when Kolo Toure had to be subbed on 33 minutes and he was replaced by Martin Skrtel. They were soon testing Federici again though when Firmino tried a curling shot that Bournemouth's keeper caught well high to his left.  

There was more confidence in AFCB's play than in recent games as was seen by Distin's dummy to get past Brannagan when just outside his own box. What we did not want to see was any yellow cards and Arter was lucky not to get pulled up having upended Origi and then Teixera in quick succession just before half time.

Liverpool had one more opportunity to extend the lead in the first half and Ibe was the player the created it with his strong wing play on the right. He crossed to Teixera who slammed his shot into the side netting. It had been a fairly even first half, but Liverpool had shown an instant of quality that had made the difference. 
Just one down at the break.
Second half
AFCB began well in the second half with an early corner. Simon Francis got in a good header from it, but it just went wide. Liverpool played much higher up the pitch as they sought to defend their goal and Distin and Smith were employed fairly regularly at just clearing AFCB's lines.

Some of the passing was being over hit and the Cherries were finding it harder to get out of their half. A particularly worrying moment was when Pugh was robbed of the ball from about 30 yards out and Firmino powered forward and hit a blistering drive wide. MacDonald was also trying to plug gaps in the midfield, but over did it on Joe Allen and picked up a yellow card.

Liverpool were still the team coming forward as the hour mark passed. Firmino again flashed a shot high and wide, but the Cherries were struggling to stem the tide. Brannagan was replaced by Lucas on 65 minutes and four minutes later AFCB made a double sub with Lee Tomlin and Josh King coming on for Kermorgant and Arter. 

Lucas then hit a thunderbolt of a shot from 30 yards that Federici saved, top left. Adam was having a good game. Liverpool's only yellow card came when MacDoland was fouled by Joe Allen.

Tokelo Rantie made an appearance on 82 minutes to great cheers from AFCB supporters and Stanislas came off. It did not take long for Rantie to have a shot either and it sadly went well over the bar. With Lallana replacing Firmino, I think AFCB's defenders were quite happy about that change. The last few minutes saw the Cherries give it one last go with Ritchie coming closest with a shot at Bogdan's left hand post that the keeper pushed out for a corner. But it remained 1-0 and Liverpool had made it to the quarter finals.
Final whistle 1-0.

A packed house under the scoreboard. 
A pretty strong performance from the Cherries.
Jurgen Klopp has his first win.
It was an enjoyable game to be at. some of the AFCB fans on the coaches had got caught up in traffic and were a bit late but at least they saw a much more solid Bournemouth performance. It is a pity that they are out of the cup but the needs was for some confidence to return and Eddie Howe will have been pleased with the players efforts. Liverpool did not have anywhere near their strongest team out but is was a full stadium and a good experience for the AFCB players.
AFCB players come towards the fans.
Sylvain Distin gives his shirt away before leaving the pitch.

Federici, Smith, Francis, Distin, Daniels, Ritchie, Arter (King 71), MacDonald, Pugh, Stanislas (Rantie 82), Kermorgant (Tomlin 71)

Allsop, Cook, Cargill, O'Kane, Tomlin, King, Rantie 

AFCB Ratings
Federici 8, Smith 6, Francis 6, Distin 6, Daniels 6, Ritchie 6, Arter 7, MacDonald 6, Pugh 6, Stanislas 6, Kermorgant 6

Bogdan, Clyne, Toure (Skrtel 33), Lovren, Randall, Allen, Brannagan (Lucas 65), Tiexeira, Ibe, Firmino (Lallana 87), Origi

Liverpool Subs
Skrtel, Fulton, Lucas, Coutinhio, Lallana, Moreno, Sinclair

Referee watch: Michael Jones 5/10 - missed playing the advantage more and annoying got in the way of a good AFCB move! 

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Klopp needn't worry unless he loses to AFCB

The good feeling Klopp factor may just be beginning to wear off on Merseyside. A draw against Spurs and a draw at home against Rubin Kazan was followed up with another draw against the Saints for Liverpool's new manager. While he needs time to get the best from his squad there will be some anxious faces in the Kop if the record of no win in four becomes a fact after the visit of the Cherries in the Capital One Cup.

For AFCB to achieve that they will need one of their best performances of the season so far. They have already played well at Anfield though and I'm sure that will help them. Meanwhile, Liverpool have not hit top form yet and were perhaps lucky to get through against Carlisle Utd in the last round of the cup, as were AFCB who also won through on penalties against Preston North End.

It's the injury list that is going to be hurting both sides though. Without Danny Ings and with Daniel Sturridge and Christian Benteke also spending some time on the sidelines, it has fallen to Divock Origi to try and score some goals in front of the Kop. The big danger man is Philippe Coutinho of course, while Adam Lallana is also now a player that Liverpool are looking to to start having big games. How many stars Klopp decides to rests could have a big influence on the outcome of the result. 

The weakness in the Anfield team is not just up front, it can also be seen in midfield without Henderson and at the back they have had to reshuffle after losing Joe Gomez for the season. Neither Bournemouth or Liverpool are likely to put out a full strength team for this game, but there is a sense that the Cherries won't have a much better chance of finally getting one over the team that has put them out of cup competitions on a regular basis in the last 12 months.

The AFCB players can hope that Liverpool are over confident in taking them on again in the cup, but it is important that Eddie Howe's team go out there and perform at the very top of their game. Having been battered in their last two games though, AFCB have to find their game straight away on the night. If Klopp could choose an opponent from the top flight to play it would probably be AFCB on recent form. 

Liverpool won't fold unless they are put under enormous pressure, and while the Cherries have won games against West Ham and Sunderland in the league there is a sense of unfinished business with Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp is not Brendan Rodgers though, and while there is a little bit of  tinkering going on at Anfield this could be the night when the Cherries can stun everyone and get their season going in a better direction. UTCIAD! 

The game tonight is going ahead as planned and the stadium has been reopened after a security incident.

Liverpool are still shaky at the back, says Empire of the Kop

Rival Lines
Match Preview: Liverpool v AFCB
Capital One Cup Fourth Round
Blogger Interview: Empire of the Kop

I caught up with Antoine who writes on the Empire of the Kop blog for Liverpool fans and hoped he would give us a bit of information on how the Klopp factor was going at Anfield. I think some of my questions were longer than his answers, but I don't think Liverpool fans are expecting their team to suddenly play sensational football with the way things have been going for them. Sadly for us, AFCB have a habit of revitalising Liverpool's season and if they are in need of improving their shooting practise it could be a difficult night. We always seem to play them just when they need a boost!

CC: What has Jurgen Klopp got to do to improve this Liverpool side?

EOK: Make them believe again.

CC: What have you made of Klopp's start?

0-0 Spurs
1-1 Rubin Kazan
1-1 Saints
Good so far but he does have a lot of work to do, we are still shaky at the back and don't have any strikers who are 100% fit. [Ed- if Liverpool are shaky at the back what can the Cherries' defencive qualities be called at the moment? porous?]

CC: How much of a loss are Danny Ings and Joe Gomez to you and re you worried about Daniel Sturridge lasting the season?

EOK: Sturridge is injured again, yes very worried about Ings we are lacking up front. [Ed - they still have Christian Benteke - Oh, no he's out as well now knee injury!]

CC: Will the Capital One Cup (League Cup) always have a special importance to Liverpool and their fans or do you want more than that these days?

EOK: At this point anything will do, we need to win to restore the belief.

CC: Did you feel really lucky to get through the last round of the cup against Carlisle Utd and do you blame the struggle that night on Brendan Rodgers?

EOK: Yes, we were lucky and yes Brendan was the chief culprit however the players were responsible too.

CC: How do you expect Liverpool to line up for this game?

EOK: I think that Klopp will go with a strong squad, will not be surprised if he starts with the same line up that played on Sunday against Southampton.

Liverpool team v Southampton
22 Mignolet
02 Clyne
37 Skrtel
17 Sakho
18 Moreno
07 Milner Booked
21 Lucas
23 Can
20 Lallana (Firmino 67)
10 Coutinho (Ibe 83)
27 Origi (Benteke 45)

CC: Thanks for Antoine for sending in some answers for Bournemouth fans. You can read more of his words on Empire of the Kop, including Jurgen Klopp's press interview. Whether Liverpool are shaky at the back or not, the Cherries have to find themselves again in this game. A solid performance is what I'd like to see whether AFCB progress or not. If Liverpool's quality is too much then we can't quibble, but I think all of us don't want to see anymore gifted goals on the part of AFCB. I'm making my way up to Anfield today and am looking forward to the match. I shall enjoy seeing what I can around the city and will hopefully bump into a few red scoucers before the game.