At around 10:30pm on Monday evening, I had a strange feeling that I had not had for some time. Although we lost the game against Arsenal, the last half an hour showed that all hope is not lost and that we are capable of playing good football against good teams. However, that statement will now be put to test at Anfield on Saturday.
If I was to put a bet on bitbet then a Liverpool win would seem like a certainty, especially with Sturridge and Suarez set to rekindle their alliance and set about demolishing teams once more. All the same, the Villans have a good record against teams from Merseyside and they have only lost once on their last eight trips to the former European capital of culture. Luis Suarez has found goals hard to come by against the team from B6 and he has only scored once against the Villans in all his games against them.
On the other hand, let us imagine that our defence can prevail against the rampant reds. Who will get the goals at the other end of the pitch to lead us to another famous Anfield victory? Christian Benteke found the net against Arsenal and ended his lengthy goal drought so the striker will now be looking to find the net more regularly for both club and Belgium when the World Cup begins.
Lambert also has Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann, who have not found the net as regularly as they would have liked this season, to pose a threat on the counter.
Finally, we find ourselves focusing on new recruit Grant Holt, brought in on loan from Wigan until the end of the season.
The transfer of Holt has caused a stir amongst Villa fans up and down the country with some stating that it is just what we need in terms of experience and a voice in the dressing room. Other Villa fans have pointed to the fact that signing a striker who can’t get a game in the Championship is simply not good enough for a club such as ours.
If there is anyone who can get the best out of Holt and make this loan deal a success then it will be current Villa manager, Paul Lambert. The Scot is well-known to Holt and he will be keen to repay the faith shown in him by Lambert by chipping in where needed with both goals and advice.
Today, Ryan Bertrand was added to the squad, on a loan deal until the end of the season. At the age of twenty-four, Bertrand comes with a mixture of both youth and experience and is perhaps best known for having played for Chelsea in their Champions’ League victory over Bayern Munich in 2012. The signing of Bertrand has gone down well and he is expected to make his debut tomorrow against Liverpool.
New loan signings Ryan Bertrand and Grant Holt are expected to feature in the squad for the game against Brendan Rodgers’ side. The televised match will most likely see a full debut for Chelsea loanee Bertrand while Holt may be limited to a substitute role as Lambert looks set to stick with his counter-attacking style of play.
Joe Bennett is back in training and will be itching to get involved again after being absent for a lengthy spell of time but he will now find that there is even tougher competition for a starting place in the team.
Fit-again Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge is expected to start after making a goal-scoring return from injury as a substitute against Stoke. Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho will return to the squad after missing three matches because of injury.
If Liverpool win, Brendan Rodgers could find that his team is just points off top spot, depending on results elsewhere.
Kick off: 5:30p.m. – The match is being shown live on Sky Sports 1
Referee: Jon Moss
Tickets: Very limited availability, with around 150 tickets left as of Thursday 17th
Last meeting: Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa
Liverpool 3–1 Aston Villa – @MrOMeara
Liverpool – Aston Villa – Paul Merson
Liverpool 2–0 Aston Villa – Mark Lawrenson