Aston Villa take on Liverpool in the Premier League this weekend. One would think that the word “struggling” would only be used to describe bottom placed Villa, but Liverpool are also struggling at the moment and might find themselves in a tricky position against a side that is playing every match with a must-win mentality as it hopes to somehow ensure it’s safety in top flight.
Villa have actually enjoyed a slight upturn in form recently, despite being rooted to the bottom of the Premier League table. They’ve won against Crystal Palace, Wycombe (FA Cup) and Norwich City in recent weeks and would feel confident of their chances against Liverpool. Aston Villa are actually unbeaten in four home league games (W2 D2) for the first time since January 2015, which was a run of five games.
Liverpool have only won one game in the Premier League in 2016 and go into this game at the back of a disappointing loss against West Ham in the FA Cup replay.
Jordan Ayew will be missing the crucial tie as the Ghanaian got a red card against West Ham. Ayew is now banned for three games, and with Villa also without their injured strikers Rudy Gestede and Libor Kozak, problems seem to have compounded for the side.
The Villains don’t face any fresh injury concerns and could be boosted by the return of Carlos Sanchez and Alan Hutton. Gestede was said to be struggling to return in time for this clash.
Garde is likely to field the side that has fetched him results against Norwich last weekend
Liverpool have been boosted by the return of Daniel Sturridge, Philippe Coutinho as well as Divock Origi, all of whom featured against West Ham. Considering the lack of fire-power up front, the return of the attacking trio will come as a welcome boost for the side. Klopp suddenly has a host of options up-front after the return of the injured three. Klopp will finally have the problem of plenty in choosing which attackers he wants to start the game against Garde’s side from the trio, as well as the in-form Roberto Firmino, Christian Benteke, Adam Lallana, Jordon Ibe.
Manager Remi Garde gave the gloves to Bunn recently, after admitting that he gave more confidence to the team than previous first choice keeper Brad Guzan. The 31-year-old has kept three clean sheets in five Premier League games but perhaps his most memorable recent memory would be the penalty save against player-of-the-season contender Riyad Mahrez in the recent 1-1 draw with Leicester. Villa’s resurgence has plenty to do with their defence becoming better and Bunn’s individual form in front of goal. Bunn would definitely be the home side’s key man against a Liverpool side struggling to find goals.
The Brazilian announced his arrival back from injury with a bang as he scored Liverpool’s equalizer courtesy a cheeky free kick in the West Ham game. Liverpool thoroughly missed the “brain” of the team and the prospect of Roberto Firmino and Coutinho linking up behind Daniel Sturridge has got Liverpool fans very excited. Coutinho could prove to be the difference against the hosts as Klopp’s men look to salvage the season.
- Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners in this fixture at Villa Park last season with now departed forwards Fabio Borini and Rickie Lambert scoring the goals.
- Despite all the criticism he has endured recently, and being goalless in 11 games, former Aston Villa striker Christian Benteke remains Liverpool’s top scorer in all competitions this season with 7 goals.
- Gabriel Agbonlahor has now scored in 11 successive Premier League seasons for Aston Villa.