One of Liverpool’s best makes his long-awaited return to Anfield on Saturday 11th December as Aston Villa face Liverpool. Since taking charge at Villa Park, Steven Gerrard has won three of his four games, with his only loss coming against table-topping Manchester City. Liverpool rotated heavily for their final Champions League group game against AC Milan but was still able to win the game. Since losing to West Ham, The Reds have won six games in a row but can an inform Villa side present Liverpool with similar problems?
Steven Gerrard Returns To Anfield As Aston Villa Face Liverpool
After experimenting against AC Milan in midweek, Jurgen Klopp will likely return to familiar faces when Villa comes to Anfield. Joe Gomez and Naby Keita made their returns off the bench in Milan but don’t expect either to start here. Roberto Firmino still remains out so Diogo Jota will partner Mo Salah and Sadio Mane in the front three. Youngsters Harvey Elliott and Curtis Jones are still recovering from freak injuries so expect Klopp to go for experience in midfield. The midfield three of Fabinho, Thiago, and Jordan Henderson are arguably the best in the league. With a busy festive period coming up, Virgil Van Dijk got a needed rest against AC Milan but he and Joel Matip should return to Liverpool’s defence against Villa. Andrew Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold should also both return despite impressive performances from Kostas Tsimkas and Neco Williams against Milan. Cult hero Divock Origi will be ready to help from the bench once again if needed.
Expected line-up: Alisson, Robertson, Van Dijk, Matip, Alexander-Arnold, Fabinho, Thiago, Henderson, Salah, Mane, Jota.
Aston Villa‘s front three is struggling for numbers right now. Danny Ings, Trezeguet, Bertrand Traore, and Leon Bailey have all missed recent games. Matt Targett also missed the win against Leicester City so Ashley Young had to play Left-back instead of giving Villa an option on the wing. With a lack of wingers, Villa played two number tens. Jacob Ramsay and Emi Buendia floated off striker Ollie Watkins and caused Leicester all sorts of problems. Targett is Likely to be available but with the back four of Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings, Young, and Ezri Konsa playing superbly against The Foxes, Gerrard will be reluctant to change it. In midfield, John Mcginn and Marvelous Nakamba look undroppable but who starts alongside them is up for debate. Douglas Luiz is the obvious choice but Morgan Sansom could come in for his first start of the season or Jacob Ramsay may drop back into the midfield three if Danny Ings returns.
Expected line-up: Emi Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young, Nakamba, Mcginn, Luiz, Ramsay, Buendia, Watkins.
How Villa Can Trouble Liverpool
When Aston Villa face Liverpool, they need to take inspiration from the way West Ham caused The Reds serious problems. The Hammers scored from two corners and also troubled Liverpool with their quick counterattacks. West Ham set up with 2 defensive midfielders and Pablo Fornals in their midfield three. Fornals troubled Liverpool with how advanced he was and forced Fabinho into a rare poor game. Liverpool’s defence was left exposed and Joel Matip especially really struggled. If Villa’s two number 10’s of Emi Buendia and Jacob Ramsay can cause Fabinho similar problems by playing more centrally then Villa may trouble Liverpool in Similar ways to West Ham. However, even if Villa causes Liverpool problems, Liverpool possesses one of the best attacks in the league, and keeping them out will be a real challenge. The Reds have scored in every game this season. Gerrard will learn a lot about his side when Aston Villa face Liverpool.
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