BEFORE THE GAME
A stuttering Liverpool side – we have only won one out of our last six Premier League fixtures – go to Villa Park on Sunday to take on a resurgent Aston Villa. Villa have lost only one of their last five Premier League games, having kept a clean sheet in three of those matches, they are on a four game unbeaten run at home.
This match is an important one for: CHRISTIAN BENTEKE
Liverpool have beaten Aston Villa in five of our last six Premier League meetings at Villa Park. As an Aston Villa player, our current number 9, Christian Benteke scored 5 goals in six games against Liverpool in all competitions. With the option of a – dare I say it? – fit Daniel Sturridge, an in-form Roberto Firmino, as well as Divock Origi in the strike force department, Benteke; who has not scored in his last five appearances, could find himself on the bench. Benteke has something to prove against his former club though, given the key opportunities he missed to score, during our fourth round replay match loss to West Ham and subsequent exit from the FA Cup tournament on Tuesday night.
Jordan Ayew is currently serving his three match suspension for the red card he received in ridiculous fashion against West Ham two weeks ago. Aston Villa’s team selection is further marred by the injuries to Libor Kazak’s ankle, Adama Traore’s foot and Jordan Amavi’s knee.
Joe Allen is out with a shoulder injury on the Liverpool injured list, while Skrtel and Lovren are still not match fit.
FANTASY LEAGUE CHOICES
On the Fantasy Premier League front, defender, Joleon Lescott scored 15 points at Carrow Road last weekend, and Villa’s recent form, has been thanks to their goalkeeper Mark Bunn.
Roberto Firmino is currently the only Liverpool player that can realistically be considered for Fantasy Premier League selection, scoring 13 points last weekend against Sunderland and 18 points two weeks before that against Norwich City.
Remi Garde on his team’s recent performance;
If we are playing the same game against Liverpool (as against Norwich), we will have no chance to have points. My job is to say ‘well done lads for the victory and three points but the football we played won’t be enough to take points from the Liverpool game.
Jurgen Klopp on Benteke;
I saw really good signs against West Ham. Having this number of opportunities is a good sign. But it’s not too easy. I talked to him, a few times, gave him some advice as a human being, as a coach. He’s really trying to come back in an easy moment.
Our lack of attacking options in our starting eleven on the whole has caused me great anxiety recently, but with Sturridge and Coutinho returning to the fold, I am hopeful for a much needed win. I do not expect an easy Sunday afternoon out though as Aston Villa have gained much needed – although somewhat delayed – momentum, which cannot and definitely should not, be underestimated. My prediction however, is absolutely filled with the standard Scouser hope in my heart…
*Aston Villa 1 – 2 Liverpool
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