Philip Billing

Premier League social media wrap: Kane looks forward, McGinn back

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The Premier League social media world was again focused on returns to training for the players, who are finding it — say it with me — good to be back.

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Spurs fans will take any encouragement they can get given their up-and-down seasons with injuries to Harry Kane, Heung-min Son, and Steven Bergwijn.

Kane gave them a little bit of that with his update after training on Thursday, as the center forward is one of Jose Mourinho’s big hopes in the battle to move from eighth place back to the UEFA Champions League spots.

[ BUNDESLIGA: Week 27 predictions and preview ]

Aston Villa playmaker John McGinn hasn’t played since just before Christmas thanks to an ankle injury.

The 25-year-old has three goals and two assists in 20 matches across all competitions for Villa this season, his second with the club and first in the Premier League

McGinn was looking back to Hibernian’s third Scottish Cup, a thrilling 3-2 triumph over Rangers in 2016 which saw Hibs scored twice after the 80th minute to come back and win it.

Bournemouth players had a bit of banter on Twitter, after the Cherries official feed published forward Junior Stanislas discussing a goal on this day in 2017.

Stanislas talked about a “typical Steve Cook” lumped clearance on the play, and midfielder Philip Billing stuck the needle into his teammate.

Cook has a quick and clever response.

Norwich City playmaker Emiliano Buendia is ready to get back to training, sharing a photo

Premier League social media wrap: Alexander-Arnold gets quizzed

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Rebecca Lowe’s back with her latest Premier League social media recap, which goes from Eric Cantona showing what he’s still got to Nicolas Otamendi having some fun with laundry and so much more.

Check the video above, then let’s take a spin around the PL this afternoon.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Liverpool’s U-9 team usually gets a party when they commit to the club for the next season.

That wasn’t happening in the social distancing world of the coronavirus pandemic, so the club asked Trent Alexander-Arnold to hold a bit of an AMA with the kids.

The questions and answers were wonderful.

Hard as nails midfielder Philip Billing has been a difference maker at Bournemouth, just as he was during his time at Huddersfield Town.

Apparently not all Terriers would agree with the latter part of that assessment — the comments section says they felt he mailed in the relegation season — and Billing stepped to the Twitter platform to express a bit of disbelief, showing off his strong run of HTAFC hardware.

Soccer is tricky.

Aston Villa goalkeeper Pepe Reina was reminiscing on his starring role for another Premier League club.

Reina backstopped the Reds to a 2006 FA Cup Final win, stopping three penalty kicks on the day.

Liverpool came back from 2-0 and 3-2 deficits against West Ham United thanks to goals from Djibril Cisse and Steven Gerrard, and only one of four shooters beat Reina in kicks (Teddy Sheringham).

Crystal Palace’s Andros Townsend is apparently a killer when it comes to jersey swapping.

The Eagles forward showed off a terrific collection of jerseys, from Yaya Toure to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Harry Kane.

Ranking every Bournemouth player

Bournemouth
Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images
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The Cherries of Bournemouth have struggled this season, beset by injuries to promising players like David Brooks and Chris Mepham as well as a sea of defenders.

There still have been stars of the show, including an imported midfielder and a second-year man bouncing back from a tough debut season at the Vitality Stadium.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ] 

Below we give each Bournemouth player a grade, ranking and group them together based on their season(s) so far.

If a Bournemouth player is listed in this ranking it is because they’ve played in more than five games in all competitions.


A-GRADE

Philip Billing: A wrecking ball who’s in danger of manning the midfield in a relegated team for the second-straight season. And, again, it would not be his fault. Team-leading 65 tackles for the club’s easy POTY.

Nathan Ake: We’re still stunned Chelsea didn’t activate his buyback clause in January. A complete defender who’s completed more than 88 percent of his passes.

Diego Rico: A down season in 2018-19 did him no justice, as Rico’s been very good and replicating numbers he turned in for Leganes between 2016-18.

Steve Cook: Has done a good job considering the myriad injuries at the back for Eddie Howe’s Cherries.


B-GRADE

Chris Mepham: Lots to like about the 22-year-old’s step forward before a long-term knee injury. Leads team with 5.6 clearances.

Aaron Ramsdale: First-year starting goalkeeper has had some strong displays.

Harry Wilson: Liverpool loanee scored seven times before December including a brace versus Spurs but has cooled off considerably.

Joshua King: It’s finishing not creation that’s the problem for the four-goal man, who leads the club in dribbles per game with 2.2

Simon Francis
Jack Stacey

Joshua King of AFC Bournemouth (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

C-GRADE

Jefferson Lerma: Was trending upward when the season paused in March, getting a goal versus Chelsea and assist at Liverpool (though those followed a red versus Villa).

Callum Wilson: Still had his finishing boots shined up for eight goals, but dipped from nine assists to zero.

Dan Gosling: Memorable goals against Arsenal and Chelsea for the former Newcastle man who missed the first 11 matches of the season with a hip injury.

Lewis Cook
Arnaut Groeneveld
Adam Smith


D-GRADE

Ryan Fraser: Mighty disappointing. It’s like his head was turned in the summer and got stuck. Does lead team in key passes per game with 1.6, but to dip from seven goals and 14 assists to 1+4 is… (tugs on collar).

Junior Stanislas: Nothing much yet after missing half of the season with a knee injury.

Dominic Solanke: One goal from 28 matches in all comps is not legendary for a center forward.

Andrew Surman


INCOMPLETE/FAILED TO MAKE MIN. APPEARANCES

Mark Travers, Sam Surridge, Jack Simpson, Charlie Daniels, Jordon Ibe, David Brooks.

David Brooks (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Premier League Preview: Liverpool v. Bournemouth

Liverpool v. Bournemouth preview
Photo by Robin Jones - AFC Bournemouth/AFC Bournemouth via Getty Images
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Liverpool looks to get back to winning ways with a visit from struggling Bournemouth at Anfield on Saturday (Watch Live at 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

The Reds have lost three-in-four across all competitions, but are a point from breaching the 80-point marker

WATCH LIVE, ONLINE, HERE

Bournemouth is one of three teams on 27 points, but the bottom of the bunch on goal differential.

The Cherries managed a point against Chelsea last time out. Can they manage another?

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Injuries/suspensions

Liverpool: OUT —  Alisson Becker, Jordan Henderson. QUESTIONABLE — Xherdan Shaqiri, Naby Keita.

Bournemouth: OUT — David Brooks, Charlie Daniels, Lloyd Kelly, Chris Mepham, Harry Wilson. QUESTIONABLE — None.


Probable lineups

Liverpool: Adrian, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Wijnaldum, Milner, Salah, Firmino, Mane.

Bournemouth: Ramsdale, Smith, Ake, S. Cook, Stacey, L. Cook, Lerma, Billing, King, Fraser, C. Wilson


What they’re saying

Jurgen Klopp on bouncing back from defeats: “Winning gives you confidence, losing costs you confidence. That’s normal. One defeat feels like two defeats, it’s not a massive difference it’s about how you immediately get back on track. You can’t do that by hoping that things are now clicking better than before but by working really hard and you have to fight back on track. That’s what we have to do all together on Saturday. We have to do that as a unit with our supporters together. Not just waiting for the perfect moment but working to get them.

Bournemouth’s Philip Billing on facing Liverpool: “It’s always fun, it’s a challenge and you look forward to playing these games. Even though it’s Liverpool, you know everybody is going to doubt you and think it’s an easy win but anything can happen in football and we just have to believe in ourselves, go to Anfield and just express ourselves. What have we got to lose? Obviously they have been unbelievable this season. But it’s 11 v 11 at the end of the day.”


Prediction

Bournemouth will give Liverpool its wobbles, but the Cherries won’t have enough to seize a result. Big game for Roberto Firmino in a 3-1 win.

Rodriguez goal pushes Burnley past Bournemouth on dreary day

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Jay Rodriguez scored at the death as Burnley won one a dreary match over Bounremouth at the Vitality Stadium on Saturday.

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His header of an Ashley Westwood cross was the game’s lone shot on target, as Burnley moves 10th with 24 points.

The Cherries fail to build on their win over Chelsea and are four points clear of the Bottom Three.


Three things we learned

1. Teams embody the weather: On a cold, rainy December day, the Clarets and Cherries were more interested in projecting their misery on the opposition than playing any sort of football. Bournemouth passed at 77 percent, the visitors barely completing more than half of their passes (58%).

2. This was a bad game: Thirty-four fouls, one shot on target.

3. Bournemouth playing with fire: Eddie Howe‘s Cherries are one of the best stories in English football, but have been very poor this season. Losing matches like this at home isn’t just below them, it’s handing three points to a team in a similar predicament. Right now, Bournemouth’s best Fortune comes in the form of struggling Watford, Norwich City, and Aston Villa.

Man of the Match: Philip Billing was quite good in defeat again, but he was a bit lucky not to be sent off.


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It wouldn’t be dramatic to say that the entertainment level of the first half was nil, two sides coming off wins and hesitant to try much.

The hour mark saw little improvement, with 22 fouls meeting and four yellow cards out-performing the zero shots on target.

Philip Billing avoided a red card despite a VAR review, maybe the only moment of action before Rodriguez headed home in the 89th minute.