Liverpool host Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as Jurgen Klopp’s men aim to get back on track after defeats to Watford, Chelsea and Atletico Madrid in recent weeks.
The Reds are no longer unbeaten but they’re still 22 points clear atop the table and set to win the Premier League title in record time. So it’s not all doom and gloom for Klopp’s boys despite three away defeats on the spin in all competitions.
Bournemouth and Eddie Howe are desperate for points as they remain deep in the relegation battle and they have an extremely tough run of games to finish up the season with. The Cherries currently sit in the relegation zone on goal difference and when Bournemouth have played Liverpool over the years they have usually struggled, with Liverpool winning their last five games against Bournemouth by an aggregate score of 17-0.
Matej Vydra, Jay Rodriguez and Dwight McNeil scored but Bournemouth had two goals chalked off by VAR as the second incident resulted in them thinking they had made it 1-1 to conceding a penalty kick.
With the win Burnley move up to eighth on 37 points, while Bournemouth remain just two points above the relegation zone.
3 things we learned
1. VAR steals the show: This was a game which was decided by VAR as Bournemouth had two goals ruled out. Philip Biling’s handball meant that King’s goal was disallowed and it looked harsh on Biling amongst a slew of bodies inside the box from a corner. Then the big moment came in the second half as Wilson scored to make it 1-1 but VAR intervened as Adam Smith had handled at the other end of the pitch. The goal was chalked off and a penalty kick awarded and that was the game. Bournemouth were livid as it looked like a heft chunk of shoulder from Smith but VAR had spoken.
2. Bournemouth running out of time: Howe’s side are playing well in games but are being knocked back at key moments time and time again. The VAR calls were harsh but Howe’s side never looked dangerous enough in attack and had Ramsdale to thank for not being four or five down. With Chelsea and Liverpool in their next two and Spurs, Everton, Man City, Leicester and Man United still to come, where are Bournemouth’s points going to come from? They’ve shocked plenty of big boys in the past and their five-season stay in the Premier League now depends on a few more of those.
3. Surging Burnley so underrated: Sean Dyche’s men are now in eighth place, three points off the top five and fifth could mean Champions League qualification this season. Imagine that? After just staying up last season and a slow start to the opening half of this season, Burnley have taken 13 points from the last 15 available. They have gone from relegation candidates to European hopefuls and they have stuck to their gameplan and played to their strengths which is huge credit to Dyche.
Man of the Match: Dwight McNeil – Vydra was a pest and Ramsdale did well to deny him on multiple occasions but McNeil was brilliant, whipping in superb crosses and he smashed home a beauty late on after another mazy run.
Bournemouth thought they had taken the lead through King but the goal was chalked off for VAR as Phillip Billing handled the ball before it found King.
Harry Wilson got on the end of Josh King‘s cross at the back post but his header was punched away by Nick Pope.
Burnley battled to get back into the game as Bournemouth looked more likely to break the deadlock. Jack Stacey was denied by Pope and then Burnley launched a counter but Vydra was denied once again by Ramsdale.
At the start of the second half it was third time lucky for Vydra as Bournemouth gave him plenty of space and the Czech Republic striker cut inside and finished calmly to make it 1-0 and make it two goals in two Premier League games after a 17-month wait for one.
Bournemouth thought they had equalized soon after as the Wilson’s combined with Callum setting up Harry to slot home, but VAR checked the goal for a possible handball by Adam Smith in his own box and the goal was taken away and a penalty awarded to Burnley.
Rodriguez slammed home the penalty to make it 2-0 as Bournemouth’s bench couldn’t believe it and referee Mike Dean had to give them a telling off.
Rodriguez almost made it 3-0 late on but Ramsdale denied him at point-blank range with Burnley dangerous on the break as Bournemouth chucked men forward.
Vydra almost slid in for another and Dwight McNeil hit the inside of the post with a fine curling shot and then smashed home a beauty to seal the win in style.
Sensible if not unspectacular signings as Cedric Soares and Pablo Mari arrived on loan. Arsenal needed additions in defense and they’ve done that but the caliber of signings are perhaps a little lower than what many were expecting. Mikel Arteta has had a big impact early on and knew the Gunners defense needed shoring up. Cedric and Mari should have the desired impact. Keeping hold of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was linked with a move to Barcelona, was also a big plus for the Gunners.
Aston Villa: B
They made five new signings in January and they were forced to do so after injuries to Tom Heaton, Wesley and John McGinn. Danny Drinkwater and Pepe Reina arrived on loan and bring experience, while Mbwana Samatta is a wild-card signing who may take a little time to settle and Louie Barry is one for the future. Borja Baston arrived on deadline day as they got the deal over the line. A busy and solid January for Dean Smith.
No new arrivals at Bournemouth and perhaps most importantly, no departures. Josh King, Ryan Fraser, Callum Wilson and Nathan Ake were all wanted but they have stuck around to help Eddie Howe‘s men battle against relegation. Given that is the case, it was surprising that Bournemouth haven’t added reinforcements, especially in defense as they are struggling with injuries. They have plenty of options up top but they’ve struggled to score goals and the Cherries may rue not doing business when the final day of the season rolls around.
Brighton & Hove Albion: D Graham Potter‘s side have played well all season but have just lacked cutting edge so it is a surprise they haven’t shuffled their strikers around. Aaron Mooy’s loan deal was made permanent and Tariq Lamptey is a very promising player who has arrived from Chelsea but they probably need a couple more players to help drag themselves out of a relegation battle.
A quiet window for Burnley but that is how Sean Dyche likes it. They brought in Josh Brownhill from Bristol City who will add poise to their midfield, while they brought back Nakhi Well from a loan spell at QPR then sold him to Bristol City. Shrewd business, as usual, from Burnley.
No new signings for Frank Lampard who still hasn’t signed a single player as Blues boss. Lampard looked disappointed when he spoke on deadline day as the transfer ban had been lifted after appeal but Chelsea didn’t make the most of that opportunity. Olivier Giroud didn’t leave after all and Lampard couldn’t bring in Edinson Cavani or Dries Mertens late on to bolster their attack. A poor window for a young Chelsea side who needed a few additions to cement their spot in the top four.
Crystal Palace: D
Not a great window for Roy Hodgson‘s side after injuries hit them hard over the winter months. Cenk Tosun will score a few goals but his loan move from Everton isn’t really the answer and although Hodgson spoke about Palace spending big and wanting to be backed in the window, nothing was spent. WilfriedZaha is still around, so that’s the main positive.
The Toffees didn’t do any major business which was a little surprising but new boss Carlo Ancelotti is still getting to know his players and they are far enough away from the relegation scrap to stick with what they have. Youngster Jarrad Branthwaite arrived from Carlisle United. That was it. Richarlison was linked with a big move to Barcelona but that was never really going to happen. Quiet window.
Leicester City: C-
The Foxes swooped to sign Ryan Bennett on loan from Wolves on deadline day and they didn’t really need to do anything in January. Brendan Rodgers has a strong squad with plenty of options and they are in third place in the table for a reason. Many believed they needed extra cover for Jamie Vardy but Kelechi Iheanacho and Ayoze Perez have stepped up.
Man City: C
Getting Aymeric Laporte back to full fitness was like a new signing and Man City and Pep Guardiola rarely do business in January and they didn’t do anything. That said, a new center back has to be the main aim in the summer.
Man United: C+ Bruno Fernandes finally arrived for up to $88 million which is great news for the next few years but why did it take so long? United could have really used him in the last few weeks. Anyway, it is done. A loan deal for Odion Ighalo was struck on deadline day as a short-term option with Marcus Rashford out injured, as they were linked with signing Islam Slimani, Josh King and many others but Ighalo was the man to get a dream move to Old Trafford.
Norwich City: F
It is clear the Canaries think they are going to get relegated. They do not spend big in the transfer market and they have picked up Lukas Rupp and Ondrej Duda who will bolster their options in midfield and attack. If Norwich were serious about staying up they would have spent $50-60 million in this window but that isn’t their model and the yo-yo club have had enough of saddling themselves with debt when relegation arrives.
Their recent form suggests the squad is good enough to be midtable in the Premier League so they didn’t need any additions but after losing Cedric and Yoshida on loan ahead of their contracts expiring (both were good deals as they received loan fees for players they would lose in the summer for nothing) they only brought in Kyle Walker-Peters on loan from Spurs. Ralph Hasenhuttl will be eyeing a big clear out in the summer as Saints have a huge number of players out on loan.
Tottenham Hotspur: B
Jose Mourinho will be fairly pleased with their business but admitted it would have been better had they signed a striker. With Harry Kane injured they pushed hard to sign Edinson Cavani, Willian Jose, Olivier Giroud and others, but couldn’t get them over the line. Exciting winger Steven Bergwijn arrived and Christian Eriksen finally signed for Inter Milan for $20 million in a great piece of business for a player who was out of contract this summer. Gedson Fernandes is on loan with a view to buy permanently and Mourinho has done some decent business.
Pretty poor window for the Hornets and that was probably because they were playing so well at the start of it, then Nigel Pearson‘s side suffered a few disappointing results late in January. They could probably have done with adding another defender and they tried hard to sign Ben Gibson on loan. Wide player Ignacio Pussetto did arrive and he looks like he will have a big impact.
West Ham United: C David Moyes did some business late on and boy did the Hammers need that. Jarrod Bowen and Tomas Soucek arrived in the final days of the window and Darren Randolph provides cover in the goalkeeping department. West Ham needed to do more business but couldn’t get deals over the line for Gedson Fernandes and a few others. Bowen should help deliver the goals they need to get themselves out of trouble.
West Ham United are pushing hard to sign Hull City striker Jarrod Bowen, 23, for $26.3 million. Bowen has scored 17 times this season in the Championship and Crystal Palace were also said to be interested in the young attacker. The Hammers badly need some help in the goalscoring department and Bowen is a real fox in the box.
Tottenham will not be re-signing Gareth Bale as Zinedine Zidane confirms for the umpteenth time that the Welshman will be staying at Real Madrid. That sound you can hear is Spurs fans groaning in despair, once again, as they thought for a second Bale was returning to their half of north London.
It is the tale of one in and one out at Wolves as 17-year-old left back Luke Matheson could be joining them from Rochdale for $1.3 million, while they are willing to let center back Ryan Bennett join Leicester City on loan for the rest of the season.
Sheffield United are also closing in on a deal for Bayer Leverkusen’s young Greek defender Panagiotis Retsos, 21, who has reportedly passed a medical and is another signing for the future after adding Zivkovic.
Jose Mourinho and Spurs do not look like they will do any more business after signing Gedson Fernandes and Steven Bergwijn this month, as well as adding Giovani Lo Celso on a permanent deal. A deal for Willian Jose is off as Real Sociedad do not want to sell their Brazilian striker.
In terms of outgoings at Tottenham, Mourinho has admitted that Victor Wanyama could leave on loan with Celtic said to be interested in their former midfielder.
However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who managed King when he was in charge of the reserve team at United, has spoken on deadline day and doesn’t believe Man United will do anymore business.
“I don’t expect any more business to be done,” Solskjaer said. “Sometimes I say something here and something else happens. I don’t want to make speculation grow more and more today. I expect nothing to happen but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen.”
The key detail here is that Solskjaer said that Marco Rojo and Ashley Young would not leave United this month. Both players departed.
United need a striker to help in the short-term given Marcus Rashford‘s injury but King, 28, would be a long-term buy. The Norwegian striker is currently out injured but has been a massive part of Bournemouth’s success under Eddie Howe with 45 goals in 151 league appearances.
Bournemouth’s manager is reluctant to lose King but admitted that given his close connections to Man United, the move could happen if United match Bournemouth’s valuation of the player.
“He’s a massive part of our team, as he has been for a long time,” Howe said. “Speaking as the manager of the club I would be very reluctant to lose a player of his quality. I love Josh as a player and a person. I have respect for him. I know his situation, what Manchester United means to him, with his history connected to the club, I understand his position. Let’s wait and see.”
Howe added that given how late this approach has arrived from United, it would be tough for Bournemouth to find a replacement for King: “It’s not my call at the end of the day, that’s going to be between the chief executive and the owner, a lot of these things are out of my control.”
They would certainly need a replacement as they’re embroiled in a relegation battle and are set for a tense final few months of the season.
This sounds like a deal which could have legs in the final hours of the window and given King’s connection to United and Solskjaer, it certainly makes sense from an emotional point of view. He would add quality to United’s attack but how often would he play? That is something Solskjaer and United have to weigh up as Bournemouth will no doubt hike his transfer fee up.