Liverpool struggled at the Britannia Stadium until Coutinho’s late flash of inspiration and Rodgers will hope to see more invention from his forward players against Bournemouth, a promoted side.
“He and the Bournemouth squad deserve to be in the Premier League”.
While there were suggestions after the opening fixture that Liverpool have altered their style a little to suit Benteke, playing a more direct game with more crosses, Rodgers downplays the idea of any major transformation: “You want a little unpredictability in your game“. With Stoke out of the way, that leaves last season’s top five and Everton in the coming months.
And while eager for his chance, he said: “I was just itching to get on but you have to be as patient as you can be”. Merely knowing that you can’t afford any slipups at Anfield between now and November suggests they will happen.
And whether he starts or begins the game on the bench Ings, who joined the Anfield outfit from Burnley in June, says at the moment he is just delighted to be one of the country’s most famous football clubs.
Last season’s home performances were generally poor, however, reflected in the Reds’ contrasting performances against new arrivals.
Liverpool have never lost to AFC Bournemouth.
The season before that, Hull, Crystal Palace and Cardiff were easily dispatched at Anfield.
In midfield, Emre Can is pushing for a start after his impressive second half cameo as an impact substitute against Stoke, but with Jordan Henderson and James Milner nailed on starters, Rodgers may have to consider a change of shape in order for the German to play from the beginning. “Our aim is to try and win the game”. He will find every game in the Premier League is like a cup final.
Bournemouth are yet to have won in their previous six meetings with Liverpool, drawing two and losing four – all of which have been in cup competitions. Luis Suarez and Raheem Sterling have left; Daniel Sturridge is still injured, while Lazar Markovic already seems surplus to requirements.
“We’re here to imprint us on the Premier League against some of the top sides – that’s what we want to do”.
Rodgers and Howe first crossed paths while the current Reds boss was in charge of Swansea in the Championship. Everyone understands that. It is quite hard to leave talented players out of the side, especially young players who are perhaps finding themselves sidelined for the first time in their careers.
As a young player he also worked under Sean O’Driscoll, one of his predecessors at Bournemouth who this summer became Rodgers’ new assistant, and there is little question he has been strongly influenced by the two.