A chance for Bournemouth at Anfield, Burnley and Spurs battle for European slots and Fernandes can seize big derby stage

Given their 22-point lead at the top of the table, no one at Liverpool is likely to be concerned by three recent defeats in four games across three different competitions. Of course, while a win against Bournemouth would help steady the ship and halt the onset of anything approaching mild jitters, Eddie Howe’s men will head to Anfield to face hosts recently derobed of what had previously resembled a cloak of invincibility. With Fabinho in poor form and Jordan Henderson still sidelined with injury, Liverpool look uncharacteristically vulnerable in midfield and are crying out for on-field leadership. While it ought to come in the form of James Milner, who returned from injury during their midweek FA Cup defeat at the hands of Chelsea, Bournemouth will still fancy their chances. There is never a good time for a relegation-threatened team to venture into the belly of the beast that is the champions-elect, but if you had to pick your moment, now seems a better one than any other. Barry Glendenning

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