Aston Villa returns to Premier League action tomorrow following their mid-week League Cup exit at the hands of Stoke City. Dean Smith will no doubt name a much stronger side against tomorrow’s opponents, Liverpool but it won’t be much easier against the Premier League Champions.
Liverpool got off to a shaky start on the opening weekend of the season but eventually overcome Premier League new boys, Leeds United with a 4-3 victory. Since then, they have gone from strength to strength and have won all three of their League games to continue where they left off last season.
Villa’s starting form hasn’t been too shabby either. They have won both of their opening fixtures even though the media would have you believe that anybody could have beaten Fulham last weekend. Yet when both Leeds and Arsenal brushed Fulham to one side, they were deemed as ‘being back‘. Oh well, that’s the British media for you I guess.
Smith’s side were unlucky not to come away from both Liverpool defeats last season with something but would have taken the positives from those games and moved on quickly. Both sides have improved since then so fingers crossed we can go at least one better this time out and sneak something from the Champions.
Kortney Hause is a doubt after coming off injured in the defeat to Stoke City on Thursday. It is unlikely that he will start but would no doubt have a place on the substitute bench. He will face a late fitness test.
Captain Jack Grealish picked up a dead leg in the victory at Fulham but is expected to be fine to face Liverpool. Orjan Nyland has a lower back issue.
Slightly better news for Bjorn Engels who is back in training and should be available for selection after the International break.
New signing Ross Barkley will be pushing for a start but will Smith change a winning side to make room for his new recruit.
Liverpool will be without new signing Thiago Alcantara and forward Saido Mane who are both isolating after testing positive with Covid-19.
Jordan Henderson is expected to return from a thigh injury but the Champions will be without Joel Matip (unknown), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee) and Konstantinos Tsimikas (thigh) who have been ruled out.
Video via avfc.co.uk
Referee: Martin Atkinson
Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West. Fourth official: David Coote. VAR: Jonathan Moss Assistant VAR: Stephen Child.
DID YOU KNOW
Aston Villa are unbeaten in six Premier League games (W4 D2), the longest current unbeaten run in the division.
Liverpool have lost just one in nineteen games at Villa Park (W13 D5).
It is hard to look past the Champions despite Villa’s recent upturn in form. The loss of Mane will be a blow but they have more than capable replacements which shows their strength in depth.
I will go with a cautious draw. Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool.