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Preview: Liverpool vs Aston Villa – prediction, team news, line-ups

Liverpool and Aston Villa face off against each other in a tasty-looking Premier League encounter at Anfield on Sunday afternoon. 

Confidence is skyrocketing on Merseyside as Jurgen Klopp’s side come into proceedings following back-to-back comeback wins over Bournemouth and Newcastle United.

Despite being reduced to ten men in their first home league game of the season, the Reds overturned an early deficit to beat the Cherries 3-1, maintaining the aura of invincibility at Anfield. 

Liverpool continued in the same rhythm last weekend, thriving in the face of adversity to beat Newcastle 2-1 despite being 1-0 down at half-time and losing Virgil van Dijk to expulsion in the first half.

Heavily criticised Darwin Nunez embraced the starring role, coming off the bench to turn the game on its head single-handedly with a quick-fire double beyond the 80th minute. 

A string of morale-boosting results sets Liverpool up nicely for this mouth-watering contest against a high-flying Villa side. 

Since an underwhelming 5-1 demolition at Newcastle on the opening weekend, Unai Emery’s side have hit a purple patch, stitching together a four-game winning run in all competitions.

Following a 4-0 thrashing of Everton on day two, the Lions eased past newly-promoted Burnley 3-1 last weekend, while they’ve booked a group-stage berth in the Europa Conference League. 

Scottish Premiership outfit Hibernian proved no match for a rampant Villa side, with the Birmingham heavy hitters putting eight unanswered goals past Hibs in a one-sided qualification play-off tie. 

Match Preview

Those wins over Bournemouth and Newcastle are the latest examples of Liverpool’s ability to handle emergency circumstances, with the Reds now unbeaten in seven straight league games with a man down (W5, D2).

Klopp’s 300th game in charge of the Reds fittingly comes at Anfield, where his men haven’t lost any of their 11 Premier League outings this calendar year (W8, D3). 

Anfield has also provided Liverpool with a safe shelter against Villa, as evidenced by their impressive return of four victories and a draw from their last five top-flight H2Hs since a 1-0 loss in 2014.

Maintaining their stellar home form is one of the preconditions if the Reds are to fulfil our expectations in 2023/24 and better last season’s fifth-place finish.

It’s been almost a decade since Villa last triumphed at Anfield, but after netting at least three goals in their last four competitive matches, the visitors may believe it’s time to turn the corner. 

Emery has turned the Lions into one of the best-performing travellers in the Premier League since his arrival in November 2022, with Villa winning a third-high seven away games under his stewardship.

However, the Spaniard has stuttered at Anfield, losing four of his five previous managerial visits to this venue (D1), highlighting his personal motive in this fixture.

If the visitors are to improve on last season’s seventh-place finish, as predicted in our Villa season preview, this is the type of game to prove their top-six credentials. 

Team News

While the Premier League overturned Alexis Mac Allister’s red card against Bournemouth, van Dijk won’t be that lucky, leaving Liverpool exposed at the back this weekend. 

His suspension, coupled with Ibrahima Konate’s minor fitness problems, threatens to cause a substantial selection headache for Klopp. 

Speaking of selection mayhem, Emery has to deal with his own, with Emiliano Buendia, Tyrone Mings, Leander Dendoncker, Kortney Hause, Jacob Ramsey and Philippe Coutinho struggling with injuries. 

Liverpool potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Joel Matip, Andy Robertson; Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai; Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez, Luis Diaz.

Aston Villa potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Alisson; Trent Alexander-Arnold, Ibrahima Konate, Virgil van Dijk, Andy Robertson; Alexis Mac Allister, Wataru Endo, Dominik Szoboszlai; Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota, Luis Diaz.

We Say: Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa 

Without van Dijk, Liveprool’s porous backline will likely be even more vulnerable, but the Reds should still have enough firepower to compensate for any potential mishaps at the back.

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