Aston Villa v Liverpool – the preview

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Although most Villa fans are probably resigned to seeing their team playing Championship football next season, last weekend’s result against Norwich City raised a few eyebrows and left some wondering whether the seemingly impossible task of staying up could actually be possible.

Joleon Lescott’s header from a Carles Gil free kick put the hosts one nil up just before half time, before Jordan Veretout played Gabby Agbonlahor through on goal to score early in the second half.

The game wasn’t the greatest as a spectacle, as both teams were nervous and trying not to lose, but it turned out to be a tight, cagey affair. There were chances for both teams, however; it was just that the Villans were more clinical in front of goal.

Next up is Liverpool. The Reds come to Villa Park currently in eleventh place, with a danger of their season falling off. The Villans, of course, have their own problems, but a win this afternoon would mean Aston Villa would only be five points from safety.

Match details:

Venue: Villa Park, Birmingham

Date: Saturday 14th February 2016

Kick-off: 14:05p.m.

Referee: Neil Swarbrick

Team news:

Jack Grealish has been ruled out due to suffering an ankle injury in training this week.

Rudy Gestede will face a late fitness test and may feature as a substitute. The striker scored two goals against Liverpool in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season.

Carlos Sánchez and Alan Hutton are now fit after overcoming hamstring injuries.

Jordan Ayew is still suspended and will only have one game of his suspension to serve after today.

Adama Traoré is two weeks from returning from a foot injury, meaning Jordan Amavi will soon be the only long term absentee remaining.

The opposition:

Daniel Sturridge is back in the team after suffering frustrating injuries throughout this campaign.

Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho are also back in contention for today’s game.

Midfielder Joe Allen will miss out with a hamstring injury, as will Dejan Lovren and Martin Skrtel, who are back into training but not fit enough for the game today.

The danger men:

Philippe Coutinho remains Liverpool’s primary danger man. The nifty midfielder will look to get into pockets of space between the midfield and defence and will drive towards goal at every given opportunity. He also likes to shoot from range and even though he misses a fair few shots, he has hit a few spectacular goals from outside the box. The Villa midfield will have to pay a lot of attention to him.

Although he hasn’t had the best of times since his move to Merseyside, Christian Benteke’s return to Villa Park may prove to be a fruitful one. The former Villan will not start as Liverpool finally have all their strikers fit to play, but Klopp may use that as motivation for the big Belgian.

Form:

In all competitions, Aston Villa have won twice, drawn once and lost twice in the last five games (W L L D W).

In the Premier League, however, the Villans have picked up eight points from a possible fifteen. They’ve won two, drawn two and lost once in the last five games overall (W L D D W).

At home, things are on the up for the Villans. They have won three, drawn one and lost once (W L W D W).

The visitors’ recent form has been quite bad, losing three and drawing two of the last five games overall (L D L D L).

In the Premier League, their form includes one win, two draws and two losses (D L W L D).

Liverpool’s away form is better, having won twice, lost twice and drawn one in the last five away games (L L W D W).

In the past:

The last game between the two sides came back in October at Anfield. It was a game filled with goals as the Reds won the game 3-2. Daniel Sturridge scored a brace and James Milner scored two minutes into the game for the hosts.

The Villa boys did get two goals back late on and actually looked like a side that would go on to at least get a draw. Rudy Gestede scored a brace to bring the game back to 3-2 but the visitors couldn’t get the third goal to share the spoils, as they deserved.

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