Premier League Gameweek 26 Match Preview: Aston Villa vs Liverpool

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

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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.

INJURY WOES

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.

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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.

MANAGERIAL COMMENTARY

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.

NATZ’S PREDICTION*

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

             ⚫⚽⚫🔴⚫⚽⚫🔴⚫⚽⚫

                              👣👣👣

Follow @Bloodsugarnatz on Twitter for all things relative to LFC & me😘

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Gameweek 15 – A Round-up (EPL Match: Away to Newcastle)

A roundup of Liverpool’s Gameweek 15 Premier League fixture, our players’ statistics according to the Fantasy Premier League scout rankings and a bit of a rant…

2016-02-06 02.29.34In 3 Things this week I round-up our worst performance under Jurgen Klopp and subsequent loss to Newcastle at St James. Due to no Liverpool player making the Dream Team cut, Fantasy League vs Liverpool’s Reality for Gameweek 15 isn’t much of a positive (or anything really!) and Hold Nothing Back is where I have my rant (Disclaimer: Expressly Natz’s view). The bright side of a rather pedestrian week gone by is that we have Jurgen Klopp at the helm of our team and thus we end off with his constructive commentary in Kloppo’s Quote of the Week.
Premier League Gameweek 15: Sunday, 6 December 2015
Newcastle (40% possession FT) 2 – 0 Liverpool (60% possession FT)

Stadium: St. James Park
Attendance: 51,273
Referee: AM Marriner
Opposition manager: Steve McClaren
Starting Line-up: 22 Mignolet, 2 Clyne, 6 Lovren, 18 Moreno, 37 Skrtel, 7 Milner (c), 21 Lucas, 24 Allen, 33 Ibe, 9 Benteke, 11 Firmino
Subs used: Lallana on for Benteke 62’, Sturridge on for Firmino at 62′, Origi on for Ibe 74′

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Match report: 3 Things
I. Newcastle were deserving winners in what was a disappointingly poor performance from Liverpool especially from players known to give much more during a game. Can, Lucas, Milner, Benteke and Firmino had particularly poor performances while the rest of the team were subpar.
II. Liverpool appeared complacent given Newcastle’s recent form and this loss will hopefully, have been a sufficient wake up call to never underestimate any team in the Premier League. Gegenpressing was nowhere in sight and the Reds seemed to opt for an almost tentative approach as the match went on.
III. Skrtel had the misfortune of an own goal – his 7th – deflecting the ball off his thigh and equaled Carra’s own goal record (breaking the record of most own goals (4) by a player in a single Premier League season) at 69 minutes when Wijnaldum cut a shot across goal. Both sides only had one shot on target each, with ours being Moreno’s stunning (and wrongfully disallowed) strike at 79 minutes and in all honestly our only highlight in an all-round abysmal Sunday afternoon out.

• Opposition Goals: Martin Skrtel (OG), Georginio Wijnaldum
• Man of the Match: Georginio Wijnaldum

Fantasy Football vs LFC’s Reality – Gameweek 15
Another subpar week for my Pitch Invaders finishing with 55 points. Skrtel had a score of minus 1 this past week due his own goal against Newcastle on Sunday. Firmino also had a quiet game with a mere 3 points added to my final total.
None of the Liverpool players made the cut for Gameweek 15s Dream Team and no one featured in the Premier League Scout’s report and rightfully so. Our performance simply put, was awful.

*Gameweek 16 heads up: Coutinho has recovered from his hamstring injury and will be in consideration for Sunday’s game at Anfield, although I expect him to be on the bench. Firmino has underperformed without Coutinho and I have opted to go with Arsenal’s Ozil, Leceister’s Mahrez and Everton’s Barkley in my midfield this week with Firmino as a substitute. I live in hope that this seemingly excellent choice does not leave me rueful come Sunday night!

**A complete list of the Rules including the points system for the Fantasy League can be found here: Fantasy League Rules

Hold Nothing Back
A bit of a rant…

Couch pundits, who are clearly just passing by (they only come out when we lose) on the spectrum of the Liverpool fan base, took to social media this week to berate players they praised in glowing terms just two weeks ago. Yes, Benteke missed a shot from only a yard out. Yes, Daniel Sturridge is not as durable as the rest of his peers and Milner and Lucas did not show their best sides at St. James. These players, like the rest of the team, are Liverpool Football Club’s first team and so we as supporters should be there in both the good and not so good times. It was difficult writing this week’s article because we have been doing so well and so it gave me the opportunity to see the hurdles we still face as a club. These, however, are not cause to write players off suddenly. Even I have had to give Adam Lallana a tiny bit of credit at times. In the words of Bill Shankly, “If you can’t support us when we lose or draw, don’t support us when we win.” Same goes for the players who usually give us cause for celebration… They need our support when they are down, especially Daniel, because say what you want about the guy, he is pure class.

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Kloppo’s Quote of the Week
Jurgen Klopp is a beacon of light even in the bleakest of times. Here are his pragmatic comments after our loss to Newcastle.

“It’s important to be in the middle and not go nuts when you win and go crazy when you lose… It’s not a reality check; it’s only our worst game, a bad game.”

“We Go Again” on Sunday, 13 December 2015 at 16H00PM BST, in our Premier League fixture at Anfield against The Baggies, West Bromwich Albion who are currently in 13th place (4 points more than Chelsea who are in 14th place) on the log. We are currently on 23 points and in 8th place. Match Fact: Liverpool have won 19 and lost two of the last 25 league matches against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield.

A HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Jordon Ibe, who celebrated his 20th birthday on 8 December 2015.

Until next time,
Y.N.W.A.

Follow me, Natz –ScouserGirl on Twitter @Bloodsugarnatz for all things relative to Liverpool FC.