Liverpool have the opportunity to get a much needed win when facing Aston Villa this weekend. The Midlands-based club prop up the rest of the Premier League with only 16 points from 25 games. With Klopp’s side having surrendered a two-goal lead against 19th placed Sunderland at Anfield last weekend though there should be no complacency involved in the clash. The Villains will take further confidence from their victory over Norwich, and their improved league form in general which has seen just one defeat in their last five.
The Merseyside giants sit a distance off the top four and as such their league campaign risks petering out if they aren’t to win. The key source of optimism for the club unquestionably comes in the return of Philippe Coutinho, Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi. Thus far in his Anfield career Klopp has been limited in any attempts of true progress by an unfortunate injury record. Coutinho and Sturridge in particular bring much needed quality to the side, as displayed in the midweek defeat to West Ham.
The Brazilian midfielder seems the most likely to start the game out of the three, with Roberto Firmino likely to be called upon to start the match up front in place of the other forwards. Sturridge though is a brilliant option off the bench, as whilst there is obviously an ever-present concern about his injury record, his performances when returning from spells injured have always been remarkable. Certainly he would appear a far more enticing option for Klopp to call upon than Benteke, whose form of late has been very underwhelming and as such may struggle for much game time upon his return to Villa Park.
Aston Villa are without Jack Grealish on Sunday, who has twisted his ankle in training this week. Jordan Ayew is suspended whist Rudy Gestede and Carlos Sanchez will be assessed after hamstring injuries. Adama Traore, Libor Kozak and Jordan Amavi all remain sidelined.
Liverpool have lost Joe Allen to injury this week after he picked up a hamstring injury which leaves him reportedly out for several weeks. Despite returning to training Lovren and Skrtel are unlikely to be ready for the clash, whilst Steven Caulker is fit for the game. Sturridge, Origi and Coutinho are all available after all three played a part in the FA Cup loss to West Ham.
Interesting pre-match statistics:
- Aston Villa haven’t lost in their last four Premier League games at Villa Park, winning two of those games.
- The Villains have only beaten Liverpool once in the last 17 league meetings between the clubs at Villa Park, a 1-0 win in May 2011.
- Christian Benteke scored 49 goals in 101 games for Aston Villa, compared to 7 goals in 28 games for his new club.
- Liverpool have won more premier league games against Villa than any other club, with 25 victories.
- Daniel Sturridge has scored four goals in three Premier League games against Aston Villa for Liverpool.
Likely Line Ups:
Aston Villa: Bunn, Richards, Okore, Lescott, Cissokho; Westwood, Gana, Bacuna, Veretout, Gil; Agbonlahor
Liverpool: Mignolet, Clyne, Caulker, Sakho, Moreno; Can, Henderson, Milner, Coutinho, Lallana; Lallana
Match result prediction: Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2
Where you can watch the match:
2.05pm kick off on Sky Sports 1, or highlights can be viewed at 10.00pm on Match of the Day 2 on BBC one.