Aston Villa vs Liverpool Preview & Rogers on Villa
Brendan Rogers on Villa
“Villa had a hard season, Paul Lambert had different challenges to meet during his first year but I fully expected him to do well this season.
There’s no doubt Benteke is the reference point for the team – the ball goes up to him and he holds it up well. He’s a big, powerful boy. “I very much expect for them to have a very good season. They are very much a counter-attacking team that set up to defend half a pitch and then break out with the pace of Benteke, Agbonlahor in particular and young Andreas Weimann on the side.
Weimann, who I have seen for a number of years, makes good runs and has got a knack for a goal. It’s just about trying to control the counter-attack, they have got fast and energetic players.
Those three are a real threat going forward and they’ve got three energetic midfield players that pass and move. Young Westwood likes to get on the ball and pass it, and Delph likes to get forward.
But our focus is really on our own game; we know the form we’re in and with the mentality and confidence of the players it should be a really good game.
It’s going to be a tough game, their first game at home as well this season so they’ll be looking to perform well. Our mind is very good at the moment; the players are continuing from last season and we just want to keep that going.”
Match Difficulty Grade
B+ There’s a stigma attached to playing Liverpool that is left over from the 80’s, when it was almost impossible to eat them. A draw is never a bad result, and even without Suarez, Liverpool has been in decent form.
Form is Temporary
Memory match: If there was ever a Liverpool game at Villa Park, I wished I was at, it has to have been the 1976/77 fixture when Aston Villa triumphed 5-1. With all five goals in the first half, having the game won at half-time this time, would mean a fun second half of scouse baiting! Probably wishful thinking though.
Liverpool: Last five Premier League matches away: W 3, D 1, L 1
Aston Villa: Last five Premier League matches home: W 2, D 1, L 2
In recent years, Aston Villa have actually fared better at Anfield than Villa Park against Liverpool. Aston Villa have only won one of their last 15 home games against Liverpool in the Premier League (W1, D5, L9). Liverpool have won three of the last four encounters.
Facts to Sweep Under the Carpet
The season’s campaign begins at Villa Park and season ticket holders will be hoping for better value than the past two seasons in which they’ve seen their team register just 9 wins. Villa’s home record in recent years against Liverpool has been terrible with Liverpool winning three of the last four encounters. One of the main reasons for that has been Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard, who has scored more goals against Aston Villa than any other club (12 in 23). When’s he retiring?
A third game within a week against three of the better teams in the Premiership is far from an ideal start for the Villa team, as Lambert has made clear to the Premier League. Liverpool will benefit from the added rest with no European action this season. Nathan Baker remains the only doubt for Villa.
What We Pray the Football Gods Will Provide
A home statement of intent. Villa have built their early season reputation against the big boys largely on counter attacking football, but have they got the goods to dictate games to their opposition at Villa Park? A draw at least, would also mean Villa would have made an impressive start, having picked up no points from the corresponding fixtures last season.
Why Villa have got this game in the bag
Liverpool had always seemed to have struggled against Benteke. He scored more goals against them last season than any other player. Last season, Villa played Liverpool off the park in the first half at Villa Park, before letting the game slip. This time, as we’ve seen from the first two fixtures of the season, Villa have an added resilience that should make sure they don’t give away any game too cheaply. Villa will also benefit from the absence of Liverpool’s main man Suarez, while their own, Benteke is bang on form.
Villa 3/1 for the home win. That’s pretty good odds for home team, that’s more than matched Arsenal and Chelsea in recent games.
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