Week two of the Premier League is upon us already, with Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side heading to Villa Park for Saturday Night Football. Both sides got off to impressive starts, most noticeably Villa, who won at the Emirates comfortably 3-1 with two Christian Benteke goals and an Antonio Luna strike. While, Liverpool were relatively impressive in their first home game at Anfield, a well executed finish from Daniel Sturridge gave them a 1-0 win, but could have gone differently, if not for the penalty saving heroics of new Belgian goalkeeper Simon Mignolet.
Before their home game versus Liverpool, is a game versus Chelsea sandwiched in the middle, a game that Lambert hasn’t welcomed. With Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool all in the same week, it is understandable that Lambert is indifferent about his club’s opening Premier League fixtures; the Villa boss claims he has given the FA five other suitable dates for the rescheduling of the Chelsea/Villa game.
Nonetheless, Lambert will have been impressed by his side’s victory over Arsenal at the Emirates on Saturday, and his side will welcome the challenge of Chelsea and Liverpool.
Last year’s home and away fixtures between these two sides told two different stories. The game at Anfield shown a Villa side who can comfortably compete with the top teams in the Premier League on their day, as they sliced open Liverpool’s defence three times, in a 3-1 victory over the Merseyside outfit. One of the goals of the season was scored during that game, remember that gem of a goal from Weimann, set up by Benteke? No? Weimann and Benteke link up for goal at Anfield
The fixture at Villa Park back in March resulted in a 2-1 victory for Liverpool, who were dominated by Villa in the first half, but turned it around with some spectacular football in the second half, through goals from Benteke for the Villains; Gerrard and Henderson for Liverpool.
Liverpool are still without Luis Suarez who is still banned after biting Branislav Ivanovic towards the end of last season.
Nathan Baker and Charles N’Zogbia are the only injury concerns in the Villa squad, and are expected to field a full strength team.
Philippe Coutinho created (6) total chances in the game versus Stoke City last Saturday, while Christian Benteke created (3) chances in the 3-1 victory at the Emirates on Saturday.
Christian Benteke has scored on his last two starts versus Liverpool.
Steven Gerrard has scored 11 goals versus Aston Villa – 4 at Villa Park, 7 at Anfield.
Both teams have scored in the last three Premier League meetings between the clubs. (2-1 Liverpool at Villa Park in March 2013, 3-1 Aston Villa at Anfield in December 2012 and 1-1 at Anfield in April 2012.)
Aston Villa – Christian Benteke
Who else but the Belgian forward, the top goalscorer in the Premier League in 2013 with (17) goals. Benteke registered 5 shots, resulting in two goals against Arsenal on Saturday, (60%) shooting accuracy and (40%) chance conversion.
Liverpool – Philippe Coutinho / Daniel Sturridge
The Brazilian playmaker has made great strides at Liverpool already in his career, every team needs a player like Coutinho in their side, that creative spark, his team-mates will know that they will have plenty of chances to score from when he’s in the side.
Sturridge has been key to Liverpool since his move from Chelsea and the combination of both Coutinho and Sturridge has totally negated Suarez’ absence. Sturridge is also scoring a goal every 107 minutes in the Premier League since his arrival.
This is a tough one, if it’s hard to call the opening weekend; it’s even harder to call the second weekend. Even so, I am backing a draw between these two sides at 3.83 at Pinnacle Sports, they both had great starts to the 2013/2014 campaign, but I can’t separate this teams at the moment. I am also backing over 2.5 goals in this game at 1.962, judged on the last two games between the two sides.