Aston Villa v Liverpool preview 2016
Have Villa finally turned the corner? Garde said it was time to win last Saturday and, despite a few dodgy moments, his players delivered.
Norwich came into that game with a woeful away record however, and Klopp’s unpredictable Liverpool side will be a tougher task.
Will Benteke come back to haunt Villa? Hopefully, the first XI trend will continue and he won’t even start.
Villa have taken just four points out of 12 games against the current top 10
Garde on Improvements
“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.
“We won the Norwich game but not in the best way we could have done it. I was not completely happy (with) the game we played.”
Klopp on Benteke
“I have not the best experience with players coming back to former clubs, it is usually they make more pressure for themselves because they want to make more pressure.
“I don’t know the history with Christian and Aston Villa so I don’t know whether they will welcome him with open arms or whistles but that is not too interesting for me.
“It is not an issue for me to make a decision. It is professional football in a year and it is only one game a year going to your former club.
“There are no final decisions for the line-up and I don’t hope too often before a game ‘Come on, maybe this is the game when it will change’. It is about work and circumstances and we will see what line-up we will choose but it is not because of personal histories with this club.”
17th Jan 2015 Aston Villa 0 Liverpool 2
Liverpool recorded a comfortable victory over Villa with goals from unlikely sources – Borini and Lambert (the other one!).
Villa – Last five matches at home: W 2, D 2, L 1
Liverpool – Last five matches away: W 2, L 3
Villa have won just once during the last five encounters with Liverpool at Villa Park – losing the other four.
One to Watch
Christian Benteke – The hero of Villa’s past few seasons has struggled at Anfield but could spearhead Liverpool’s attack on Sunday.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
Admittedly we rode our luck against Norwich and as fellow relegation battlers, anything other than a win over the Canaries would have been terrible, but Liverpool are a different proposition.
Despite inconsistent performances they’re the sort of team Villa struggle to get points from. By that we mean a team in the top 10 (before the weekend’s results).
Villa have taken just four points out of 12 games against the current top 10, with only Sunderland managing less.
As well as that, we’ve only beaten Liverpool ONCE in the last 17 league meetings at Villa Park. While negative Villa stats are no surprise these days, that one will come as a shock to even the most pessimistic of claret and blue supporters.
Similarly, Liverpool have won 25 games against Villa in the Premier League, more than they have against any other club.
They might ship a lot of goals but seem to be able to score a fair amount too (see the crazy Norwich game), and big money signing Firmino has scored five goals in his last five league games.
Away wins against Sunderland and Norwich of late may be worrying proof that Liverpool tend to perform when visiting the relegation battlers.
“I don’t know whether they will welcome him with open arms or whistles” – klopp on benteke’s reception
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
In the first few minutes of the Norwich game, Villa could have conceded. Villa have a worrying habit of starting a game slowly, and in our last home league win Palace almost scored 30 seconds in.
With Villa’s fragile confidence any early Liverpool goal would be Ayew-level in terms of making it difficult for ourselves. This is especially true when you consider Liverpool are yet to lose a league game in which they have led this season, and the fact the Reds have kept clean sheets in five of their last league visits to Villa Park.
Funnily enough, Villa have a similar stat, and we have yet to win from a losing position. Typical.
Most importantly though, let’s hope Benteke doesn’t score against Villa. It’s unlikely he’ll get a Delph-esque welcome after three seasons of keeping us in the Premier League, but it would be heartbreaking to see him score against us.
Why Villa Have Got This Game in the Bag
Liverpool’s congested fixture list has been giving Klopp problems. The likes of Illori have been called into action by the Reds and the German manager’s comments just about sums up the defender’s loan spell – he admitted he “didn’t know” Illori had been on loan to Villa.
Liverpool’s performances have occasionally been exciting but Klopp has failed to be much of an improvement on Rodgers results wise – they’ve only won one of their last six league games.
During this time they conceded 14 goals and failed to score in half of those occasions. This is something of a contrast to Villa’s bizarrely decent form. We’ve lost just once out of our last five Premier League games, keeping three clean sheets in the process!
When Liverpool have played well this season it’s usually been against high flying teams who give them the opportunity to counter-attack. Against a stubborn Villa side with a surprising new found resilience, it could be another difficult day for Klopp.
Also, if Villa’s record against the Top 10 teams is poor, the good news is that after Saturday’s results, Liverpool have slipped to 11th!
Villa have recorded as many points in our last five games as they’ve achieved in their opening twenty (eight). Clearly Garde is improving things.
Hopefully the upturn in form continues on Sunday, and the pathway to Premier League survival becomes slightly more visible…
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