Liverpool 1 Bournemouth 0: How Bournemouth could have won at Anfield

ANALYSIS: We've teamed up with Sports Interactive, the makers of Football Manager, to re-run one of the weekend's key games to see how the losers might have prevailed had they done things differently

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The Independent Football

Bournemouth left Anfield on Monday night with nothing after a 1-0 loss to Liverpool. Christian Benteke scored the only goal. But it might have turned out differently if Eddie Howe had set up his team as below...


Bournemouth Formation: 4-4-1-1

Line-up: Boruc, Francis, Elphick, Cook, Daniels, Ritchie, O’Kane, Surman, Gradel, King, Wilson

Final Score: Liverpool 1-2 Bournemouth (Scorers: Coutinho; King, Wilson)

Eddie Howe’s gamble to play Joshua King as an attacking midfielder pays off as it gives Bournemouth a better balance between attack and defence. They’re also able to dictate the tempo of play in the middle of the park and are also more dangerous on the break.

Max Gradel and Matt Ritchie’s stats give an idea as to the effectiveness of Bournemouth’s attacks. Gradel completes five out of seven crosses while Ritchie’s pass completion stat is 71 per cent - mainly due to the option of King as a short pass in the final third. Gradel actually supplies the cross that is met by Callum Wilson’s head to give Bournemouth the three points.


King has an excellent game which includes a well taken opening goal. The summer signing plays a nice one-two with Callum Wilson, outpaces Dejan Lovren and slides the ball into the bottom left corner. During the course of the game he takes seven shots, three of which are on target and makes two key passes that give Wilson clear goalscoring opportunities.

Liverpool’s gameplan is hampered by the good job that Tommy Elphick and Steve Cook do on Coutinho. The Brazilian is often restricted to shooting from range and only once is able to force Artur Boruc into an acrobatic save. Elphick makes four tackles on Coutinho over the course of the match and is successful in shepherding him out to the left side. Coutinho still makes an impact on the match when he dribbles past Simon Francis and slots the ball under Boruc.

Football Manager uses a vast database - compiled by approximately 1,300 researchers across the world (including real-life scouts) - to blend reality and fiction. So impressive is the information that it has become a tool used by real life managers. The painstakingly detailing simulation of club management, which allows players to control every aspect of a manager's role, from scouting new player to tactics and training, has sold millions of copies worldwide.