EDDIE Howe described as “the biggest challenge we have faced since coming into the Premier League” Cherries’ ever-growing injury list following five straight defeats.

The Dorset club are missing no fewer than nine first-team figures after both Nathan Ake and Callum Wilson limped off with hamstring problems during a 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool.

They joined David Brooks (ankle), Steve Cook (wrist), Junior Stanislas (knee), Lloyd Kelly (thigh), Adam Smith (ankle), Joshua King (hamstring) and Charlie Daniels (knee) among those with concerns.

Cherries are now on their worst losing run since promotion to the top flight, with losses against Newcastle, Wolves, Tottenham and Crystal Palace, as well as the setback against the Reds.

With his side now just one point above the bottom three, Howe said: “I don’t want to make the excuses of injuries behind everything, but if you just look at the number we have, with the quality of players we are missing, I’m not sure there’s many Premier League teams that could cope with that.

“The trouble is it’s difficult for me to give good news and say ‘well, we are going to get a load back in a couple of days’ because I’m not sure that’s going to happen.

“But we have to find a way. It’s probably the biggest challenge we have faced since coming into the Premier League, with what we had thrown at us in our first season.

“But I think this is going to be the biggest challenge.”

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Naby Keita and Mo Salah were on target for the visitors, who extended to 33 league games their unbeaten run.

Howe added: “They did very well.

“They have got very good players, a really good way of playing and I think we’d managed to stifle them, frustrate them and had looked a threat in the opening stages of the match.

“But once they scored, they played some really good stuff in the second half.

“It was difficult for us to find a way back into the game, to find enough possession to hurt them.”