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First team

Team news: Smith added to injury list

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AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

AFC Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe has confirmed he will be without three key players for tomorrow’s clash against Premier League leaders Liverpool.

Steve Cook and Joshua King have been joined on the injury list by Adam Smith, a casualty of the midweek defeat at Crystal Palace.

Smith came off worse after going into a challenge with Wilfried Zaha during the closing stages and hobbled off, leaving the ground with his ankle in a protective boot.

Defender Cook, who sustained a broken wrist during the defeat by Tottenham six days ago, is today due to see a specialist.

And frontman Joshua King, who hurt his hamstring while on international duty with Norway, remains sidelined having missed the past three games.

Harry Wilson, who is on loan from Liverpool, is ineligible as he is not allowed to face his parent club. 

Meanwhile, Howe said long-term injury victims Junior Stanislas and Andrew Surman were both back in training but would not be available for the visit of Jurgen Klopp's high-fliers.

The Cherries host the Reds on the back of four successive defeats in the Premier League, a run which has seen the gap between them and the bottom three narrow to just two points.

Howe said: "The moment we got promoted to the Premier League, we were well aware we were going to have hard runs and difficult spells due to the quality of the teams you are playing.

"The difference this season is the run has coincided with fixtures that we would have expected to have done better in and we have some tough fixtures to come so that’s probably our biggest challenge this season, how we respond in the next few games.

"You don’t want our confidence to be damaged by it so the quicker you can spring out of it and get a positive result and feel good again then the better for everybody.

"We take confidence from the fact we have been here before, it’s nothing new for us and the players have seen it.

"Every year, it’s a different challenge. There are no seasons that are the same so we have to be guarded in that respect."

Asked whether he felt his team would approach the game with a sense of trepidation due to Liverpool's impressive form, Howe replied: "We can’t afford to have any of those type of emotions going into the game.

"You have to believe we can win. The players have to believe that they are good enough to get a positive result.

"I will try to get that feeling into them before the game. Our game-plan has to be good, our preparation has to be good and we have to deliver what we need to do to hurt them.

"We’re at home, the crowd need to be involved in the game, we need to give them a cause and a way to get into the match.

"All those things are hugely important. We can't have any negative feelings or emotions and, in some respects, our recent results will hopefully galvanise the club and bring everybody closer together and that’s desperately important.

"That’s what we need to do, a realisation of our position, our form and let’s go together and try to get a positive result."

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