After an international break, which may have come too soon in the league season for some fans, the Premier League returns this weekend as Liverpool welcome Aston Villa to Anfield.
The Reds are currently sitting fifth in the table after achieving six points from their first three games and this will only be their second home game of the new campaign. Liverpool have a number of injuries in their squad sustained during the break however, and Brendan Rodgers will have to take advantage of the club’s large squad when he chooses his team on Saturday.
Aston Villa have enjoyed a great start to the league and are currently unbeaten. After winning away to Stoke City, the team drew with Newcastle United and defeated Hull City before the break. As a result of this, they are currently in third place on seven points and Paul Lambert will hope to use this as a morale booster in the face of some difficult upcoming games.
Daniel Sturridge is out for the next three weeks due to a thigh injury sustained during England training. The Reds will also be without the services of Emre Can, Martin Skrtel, Glen Johnson and Joe Allen. However, Adam Lallana will be able to make his debut for Liverpool having recovered from an ankle injury.
Ron Vlaar has been dealing with a calf injury but could still turn out for Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday. Villa’s only other injury concerns are Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak.
- Steven Gerrard has scored 12 league goals against Villa, four more than against any other side.
- Mario Balotelli has played against Aston Villa twice in the Premier League and scored four goals.
- Rickie Lambert has scored three goals against Villa in four league appearances.
- Aston Villa are unbeaten in three of their last trips to Anfield, winning once and drawing the other two.
- Paul Lambert has never lost at Anfield as a Premier League manager.
- Villa are currently the only Premier League team with more points (7) than shots on target (5).
Sterling has been Liverpool’s standout player so far this season and is proving to be one of the most exciting players in Europe. He has scored two goals in three appearances and according to Squawka.com he has did this from eight attempted shots, six of which have been on target. The youngster has also managed to create seven chances for his team mates, making one assist in the process.
When it comes to passing, he has so far achieved a 79% pass accuracy and more impressively, considering his size, has managed to win 63% of all the duels he has been involved in. Sterling is perhaps Liverpool’s main attacking threat and Villa will have to be wary of this when they come up against him on Saturday.
Delph has been receiving a lot of attention recently as one of England’s potential new holding midfielders and this has been built on the back of some fairly impressive performances for Aston Villa over the last year.
He has played in all three of Villa’s league games this season and according to Squawka.com, he has won 62% of all the duels he has been involved in. Looking at this in more detail, you see that the midfielder has attempted 10 take-ons and has been successful eight of those times. He has also managed to win seven fouls for his team but has been less successful when tackling opponents, succeeding with just three of his eight attempts. Delph has also been accurate with 80% of his passing so far and has managed to create two chances for his team mates from central midfield. If Liverpool can contain him in the middle of the park, then Villa will suffer as a result.
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Liverpool don’t have a very good record against Aston Villa at home and the visitors are likely to make it difficult for them again after enjoying a good start to the season. That being said, Liverpool have brought in more attacking players during the summer and will make it hard for Villa’s defence. Villa have only managed five shots on target in their three games and will likely be doing more defending in this game. For these reasons, I think it will finish 2-0 to Liverpool.