Liverpool enter Premier League action this weekend tied on second in the table with 30 points but winning the goal differential tiebreaker with co-second Manchester City by one. The Reds are just a point behind leader Chelsea but will attempt to stay in striking distance the rest of 2016 at a minimum without Philippe Coutinho. Liverpool are currently priced at +275 to win the league title in Casino Pros soccer betting.
The Brazilian Coutinho was taken off on a stretcher in the 34th minute from last Saturday's 2-0 win over Sunderland at Anfield after a clash with Didier Ndong. A scan on Coutinho's right ankle on Monday showed ligament damage. Coutinho is expected to miss at least five weeks, thus sitting a busy December schedule that includes Premier League fixtures against Bournemouth, West Ham, Middlebrough and Stoke, as well as high-profile clashes with Manchester City and Merseyside rivals Everton.
The most likely return for Coutinho would be Manchester United away on January 15 or an FA Cup tie the week before. The 24-year-old Coutinho has five Premier League goals and five assists in 13 appearances. He has created 33 chances and has a shot accuracy of 53 per cent and pass accuracy of 84 per cent.
Liverpool are ready to step up their pursuit of Borussia Dortmund youngster Christian Pulisic in the wake of Coutinho's injury. Liverpool also are dealing with health issues to Adam Lallana, Daniel Sturridge and Roberto Firmino. Lallana's condition is improving following a groin complaint, and he could play this weekend, but Sturridge and Firmino still both have calf issues, with the former yet to return to training.
Liverpool are 3/4 favourites this week at Bournemouth (4/1), with a draw at 5/2 for Sunday's match at Vitality Stadium. The Cherries are 12th in the Premier League table on 15 points. They were beaten 3-1 at Arsenal last Sunday. Callum Wilson tied the match at 1-1 on a 23rd-minute penalty for the visitors after he was brought down in the box by Nacho Monreal. Wilson became Bournemouth's top Premier League goalscorer of all time in the process. But second-half goals from Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez gave Arsene Wenger's side their first league win since October 29.
The Reds and Cherries last played April 17, a 2-1 Liverpool victory at Vitality Stadium. Firmino and Sturridge scored for the visitors. Joshua King's stoppage-time strike came too late for a home comeback.
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