Liverpool welcome Bournemouth to Anfield on Monday evening for the first league meeting between the two clubs.
The Reds kicked off their 2015-16 campaign with a 1-0 win at Stoke with Philippe Coutinho’s superb long-range strike 14 minutes from time securing all three points for the Merseysiders from a match which seemed destined to end as a drab goalless draw. Before Coutinho’s dazzling strike, Liverpool rarely threatened the Stoke goal and lacked creativity in midfield.
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has stressed the importance of making a winning start at Anfield.
"I think building confidence early on is important," Rodgers told his club website. "I think that’s key in it. Getting the vibrancy around the stadium again, the level of football, and obviously winning – if you can do that early on that creates the confidence and it’s something that I’m looking forward to seeing this team evolve with again this season.
"It’s so, so important for you, your home form, if you’re going to succeed and that’s the aim for this season. Our aim and intention in every game is to be on the front foot at home, we are a team that wants to dominate and that will always be the case, particularly at home."
Newly promoted Bournemouth lost 1-0 at home to Aston Villa on their Premier League debut last weekend. The Cherries held 56 percent possession and wasted a number of clear-cut goal chances to secure at least a point in front of a noisy crowd at Dean Court. Villa’s stubborn defence held firm after substitute Rudy Gestede headed in the only goal of the match on 72 minutes.
Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe confesses he sees Reds boss Rodgers as a role model.
"When you try and analyse games and analyse systems, and philosophies, he’s certainly someone that I’ve looked at." the 37-year-old Howe said. "I respect the way he conducts himself as well. I think he’s now building another Liverpool team, a new Liverpool team, this year, so it will be interesting to see how they do.
"Liverpool are going to be up there competing in the top places in the league, there’s no doubt about that. That’s why it’s going to be one of our toughest games of the season. It’s Liverpool’s first home game of the season, making it even more special. For us, we’ve got to make sure we turn up."
Liverpool summer signing Roberto Firmino scored a hat trick in a closed-doors friendly this week, and the Brazilian attacking midfielder should feature at some stage against the Cherries. Midfielder Joe Allen remains sidelined with a hamstring problem.
Bournemouth will be without injured trio Harry Arter (groin), Shaun MacDonald (toe) and Christian Atsu (back).
The Merseysiders have beaten Bournemouth twice in cup competition over the past couple of seasons. The Reds won 3-1 away in a League Cup quarterfinal in December 2014 on a brace by Raheem Sterling and a goal by Lazar Markovic. Dan Gosling scored the lone goal for the Cherries in that match at Dean Court. Liverpool also won 2-0 in the fourth round of the 2014-15 FA Cup, also at Bournemouth, on goals from Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge.
Liverpool haven’t lost their home Premier League opener since a 2-1 defeat to Chelsea in Aug. 2003. The Merseysiders scored 30 league goals at home last season, 23 fewer than the 53 they netted at Anfield in the 2013-14 campaign.
Bournemouth’s 44 points from 23 away matches were tied with Norwich for most in the Championship last season. Their 13 wins also tied for best in the league.