There is a sense of optimism at Anfield as the club has recovered from its dismal start to the season by eking out crucial results over the last few match days. The Merseysiders travel to Villa Park for their next tie on Saturday, the 17th of January. The Reds lost to Villa at home earlier in the season, but since then the club’s fortunes have dwindled as it has slipped into lower mid-table obscurity in the league. Lambert’s side currently sits in 13th spot, just 3 points away from the drop zone. While Liverpool have managed 11 points out of a possible 18 in the last 6 games, Villa have been able to chalk up just 3 points in 6 games, the lowest in the league.
Villa have Ciaran Clark suspended for the game following his bust-up with Matty James in the tie against Leicester. Fabian Delph is expected to make the line up against his potential suitors having served his suspension period. However, the club is definitely without the services of Captain Vlaar (Knee), Senderos (Calf), Kozak (Broken Leg) and Herd (Shin) while midfielder Joe Cole (Knock) is set for a late fitness test.
Liverpool have a few injury concerns of their own. Captain Gerrard (Hamstring) and Lallana (Thigh) are set for a late fitness test alongside returning full-back Johnson (Groin). The other notable absentees at the club are Jones (Hip), Flanagan (Knee), Allen (Knee) and Sturridge (Thigh) who is into his final stages of rehabilitation and is set to make the team by end of January. Young attacker Raheem Sterling returns for the Reds following his brief vacation and is expected to make the starting line-up on Saturday.
- Aston Villa have the lowest goal tally in the league with just 11 goals.
- Aston Villa have picked up 4 red cards in four of their last six Premier League matches.
- Since 2003, no player has created more chances in the Premier League than Steven Gerrard (835 chances).
Possible Line Up
Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Baker, Cissokho, Sanchez, Westwood, Delph, Weimann, Agbonlahor, Benteke
Mignolet, Can, Sakho, Skrtel, Moreno, Markovic, Henderson, Lucas, Sterling, Coutinho, Borini
The Belgian striker has been a thorn in the flesh for Liverpool as he has scored 4 goals in the last 4 meetings against the Merseyside club. The Belgian has scored just 2 goals in the league this season, one of them being a wonderful finish against Manchester United. The burly striker has always caused problems and would be keen to add to his exploits against the club. While Liverpool have looked better defensively, they haven’t looked dominating enough and Benteke will be hoping to dominate the proceedings as soon as possible. The defence under Rodgers has looked particularly suspect during set pieces and Villa fans will be hoping that Benteke, who has monstrous abilities in the air, can capitalise.
Sterling is back from a well deserved break in Jamaica and is expected to make the starting line up on Saturday. The youngster has been the brightest spot for Liverpool this season and should look to carry on where he left off. Apart from establishing himself as one of the creative lynchpins of this Liverpool side (49 chances), the Englishman has also found the back of the net on 4 occasions. Aston Villa are without the services of Vlaar and Clark and the attacker would be looking to get behind the Villa defence time and again with his penetrative running and dribbling. Should he get into rhythm, the Liverpool bandwagon will be on song.
Head To Head
|2014/2015||Sat 13 Sep||Liverpool||0 – 1||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|2013/2014||Sat 18 Jan||Liverpool||2 – 2||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Sat 24 Aug||Aston Villa||0 – 1||Liverpool||Premier League|
|2012/2013||Sun 31 Mar||Aston Villa||1 – 2||Liverpool||Premier League|
|Sat 15 Dec||Liverpool||1 – 3||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|2011/2012||Sat 07 Apr||Liverpool||1 – 1||Aston Villa||Premier League|
|Sun 18 Dec||Aston Villa||0 – 2||Liverpool||Premier League|
A depleted Villa side, lacking confidence, face one of the in-form teams at the moment and they could find the going tough. We expect Liverpool to grind out a 1-0 victory at Villa Park.