If Bournemouth’s first ever encounter in the English top flight, let alone the Premier League, was a dream realised, then their second really will have Cherries fans pinching themselves.
Following the fanfare and excitement of the opening-day battle with Aston Villa at Dean Court, Eddie Howe takes his troops to Anfield to host a Liverpool outfit that could just be there for the taking.
In defeat to the Villans – Rudy Gestede nodded Tim Sherwood’s visitors to a 1-0 win late on in Bournemouth – the Championship title holders showed they have the creativity and skill to forge chances at this level; they just need to finish them.
Nine off-target shots were fired on Brad Guzan’s goal last week, with two more accurate enough to force the American stopper into action. Although their lack of accuracy ultimately cost them a first point, it won’t have dampened their hopes of survival.
No matter how perfect a first win, at home, in their first top-flight game would have been, ask most Cherries whether they’d prefer that scenario or claiming it on Merseyside and it’s unlikely to have been a hard choice.
Based on the evidence of the Reds’ first outing of 2015/16, it could just be a realistic ambition.
Only a Philippe Coutinho wonder strike earned Liverpool their 1-0 win over Stoke last week, as Rodgers’ squad looked as unfamiliar with each other as expected following the Northern Irishman’s deluge in the summer transfer window.
How to best serve Christian Benteke and who plays on the wings remain unsolved mysteries for Liverpool, albeit after one game.
Nonetheless, 13/2 about a visiting win for the south coasters is long enough to pique interest, considering Bournemouth’s free-flowing play could just trump Liverpool’s fact-finding cautiousness.
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