Brendan Rodgers unlikely to tinker with defence against Bournemouth
Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is unlikely to make any changes to his defence against Bournemouth after his team kept a clean sheet in their 1-0 win at Stoke City in their Premier League opener.
Liverpool`s back four against Stoke featured new signings Nathaniel Clyne and Joe Gomez in the full back positions and a much improved performance from Dejan Lovren alongside Martin Skrtel in central defence.
"Having players that are going to be able to play consistently for you is key in any team, and especially in a back five. That`s vital," Rodgers said in an interview posted on the club`s website (www.liverpoolfc.com).
"I thought the back four and goalkeeper were excellent last week at Stoke with their organisation as a group and a unit."
The manager was especially pleased with Lovren`s performance.
"Dejan is aggressive, he`s good in the air, his reading of the game was good and his passing was simple but effective," Rodgers said. "I think he`s gained confidence over the pre-season and hopefully that will be maintained."
The manager also stressed the importance of a settled defence, something that Liverpool lacked last season.
"We have got excellent players here in (Mamadou) Sakho and Kolo (Toure), the central defenders, but centre-halves will tell you it`s about finding that comfort with a partner and that partnership," the 42-year-old Northern Irishman said.
"I thought the two centre-halves were very good last week."
Meanwhile, Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe has confirmed that midfielder Harry Arter will miss the trip to Anfield after failing to recover from a hip injury that he picked up at the start of June.
"Harry, unfortunately, isn`t fit yet," Howe said. "He hasn`t trained with us.
"We`re disappointed because we would have hoped to have him back with us by now, but he`s had some mini setbacks and has been feeling certain symptoms again."
Howe said his Bournemouth side would need to be at the top of their game to get a positive result at Anfield.
"We`re going to Liverpool to be professional and do a job," he said. "Teams like Liverpool are always going to be there or thereabouts at the top of the table.
"That`s why I say it`s going to be one of our toughest games of the season, so we have to make sure we turn up."