Bournemouth V Liverpool at Goldsands Stadium : Match Preview

16 December 2014 05:31
Bournemouth V Liverpool - view commentary, squad, and statistics of the game live.

Francis looking to upset Reds

Bournemouth defender Simon Francis believes the contrasting fortunes of the Cherries and visitors Liverpool adds an extra element to their Capital One Cup quarter-final.

An unbeaten run of 12 matches, with 32 goals scored in the process, has lifted the south coast side to the top of the Championship.

They grabbed the nation's attention with their 8-0 win at Birmingham in the fourth game of that run but they have also seen off Premier League West Brom and, most recently, fellow promotion hopefuls Cardiff 5-3 on Saturday.

And with Liverpool fresh from a 3-0 humbling at Old Trafford and a Champions League exit, right-back Francis can see just why Bournemouth's first ever last-eight clash is attracting so much attention.

"People will be looking more into it with Liverpool's run of form and with ours at the moment with us being top of the league, it makes it that bit more interesting and it adds a little bit of spice to it," he told BBC South Today.

"They might not be firing on all cylinders in the league but they are still a great team and it'll be an excellent game.

"They are under a little bit of pressure and aren't on the best form at the moment and we'll look at that and hope to exploit it on Wednesday, create some chances and hopefully win the game.

"Their form can't go on like this forever, they'll be seeing this as a game they are hoping to win, a 'must win' if you like for them.

"But we've been on a great run and we don't want that to end just because it is a cup game and because its Liverpool."

Wednesday night's clash offers the Cherries a second bite at causing a cup upset at home to Liverpool having been seen off 2-0 in last season's FA Cup, despite putting in an eye-catching display.

While this Liverpool side is undoubtedly a shadow of last season's title challengers they will tackle a Bournemouth outfit that, in stark contrast, has come on leaps and bounds.

Bournemouth have lost just nine times in 45 games since Victor Moses and Daniel Sturridge goals put them to the sword, a record which saw them almost steal a play-off spot and then fly to the top of the division this season.

And boss Eddie Howe says his squad have the chance to show just how far they have come in front of a sell-out crowd and a televised audience.

"It's one game and the first time we have been in the quarter-final, so it's hopefully a game where we can relax and attack rather than think too much of the consequences of defeat or victory," he told BBC Radio Solent.

"I think it is a showcase for the club and a showcase for the team. If we can perform as we have done in the league and give a really good account of ourselves and hopefully everyone can see our philosophy, then we will take that.

"I would love the players to do themselves justice and show everybody, if people need confirmation, we are a good side."

Howe could hand Callum Wilson his first Capital One Cup start for the club after he scored for the first time since October on Saturday. Tokelo Rantie (shoulder) misses out but Ian Harte could be involved if he shakes off a calf injury in time.

Brendan Rodgers could not have envisaged the significance of such a game when the season began with him looking for a top-four place and playing in the Champions League.

"We wanted to have a right go at all of the cup competitions this year and the game on Wednesday will be an opportunity for us to get into the semi-final," he added,

"It would obviously give us confidence to get through and then go into a two-legged semi-final.

"We're in competitions to win trophies, so if we can get the victory against Bournemouth and get through, the aim for us would be to hopefully go on and win the competition.

"This is the first cup competition that you can win, so it was always a priority for me.

"Of course, we've got a big game at the weekend (against Arsenal) on top of that but the idea is to go into the game on Wednesday to win and I'll pick the team that I think can win the game."

Goalkeeper Brad Jones will keep his place after Simon Mignolet was dropped for the weekend defeat by Manchester United.

Striker Mario Balotelli will be assessed having returned from a month out with a groin problem at Old Trafford but defender Glen Johnson misses out with a similar injury.

Source: PA