Bournemouth have been a lower division side for the last few years, but after hosting Real Madrid in a pre-season friendly several months ago one could argue that this fixture is completely normal for the Cherries! Still, unlike the Real game, there is plenty riding on this one and while Bournemouth will get the chance to bring in plenty of revenue, their opponents will be looking to progress to the latter stages of the FA Cup and throw their hat into the ring for a trophy.
Despite only making their way up to the Championship following promotion last term, the Cherries have undoubtedly held their own and look set to at least retain their divisional status. An accumulation of thirty one points means that they’re a comfortable seven points above the drop zone, while at no point have they ever looked like candidates for relegation. It would be fair to say that the last round brought them a fairly straightforward tie and after brushing past Burton in 4-1 fashion, Eddie Howe will know that this game is of a completely different complexion. Still, a run of one defeat from their last five will encourage them, as will the fact that they’re now unbeaten at home in their last four.
Liverpool meanwhile are slowly saying goodbye to their opportunity to claim the top flight title this term and with the Reds now eight points adrift of the leaders, it looks as though their chances has pretty much evaporated. Nevertheless, Brendan Rodgers’ side have at least made a better go of it than in previous years, while they have also fared better in this competition. It was only last term that they were knocked out of the cup by Oldham, yet lightning didn’t strike twice and they brushed past the Boundary Park side in 2-0 fashion at the start of January. With the Premier League seemingly out of their grasp, one would have to imagine that they will now take a strong team to the Goldsands Stadium.
As for team news, Bournemouth will be able to call upon Lee Camp in this round even though the goalkeeper was unable to feature in the last stage due to ineligibility. This means that Eddie Howe is widely tipped to keep changes to a minimum, with the Cherries having no fresh concerns. Liverpool on the other hand have been hindered this week through an injury to Glen Johnson, which looks set to keep him on the sidelines for the considerable future. It doesn’t get much better for Brendan Rodgers in other areas either, with none of his long-term absentees poised to return as Jose Enrique, Mamadou Sako and Daniel Agger all sit on the treatment table.
As for a prediction, we think that Bournemouth might have a chance of grabbing an unlikely replay. The Goldsands Stadium is not the easiest place to go to and this home advantage could prove crucial, with our tip being a hard-fought 1-1 scoreline on Saturday.