August 24, 2013 5:30 PM BST
Villa Park — Birmingham
Referee: M. Clattenburg
When Aston Villa face Liverpool in the league match later today, they would certainly carry a lot of confidence with them after two impressive results back to back. In their opening game they defeated Arsenal by a 3-1 margin and in the second game against Chelsea, they suffered a narrow defeat. Should they salvage a point out of this one, it is a job well done for Paul Lambert as they would have faced three top teams and would have managed atleast 4 points which should give them a real boost going into the season.
Cristian Benteke has been in brilliant form for Villa and has scored three goals till now for his team. The Belgian striker is the focal point of the attack and if Liverpool have to win this match, they definitely have to contain him.
“There’s no doubt Benteke is the reference point for the team – the ball goes up to him and he holds it up well. He’s a big, powerful boy,” Rodgers stated in an interview “I very much expect for them to have a very good season.”
Liverpool, on their part, had been quite impressive in their first match against Stoke and registered a 1-0 win. They had a nice flair of attack going in favour of them and could have scored more if not for Stoke keeper Begovic.
Daniel Sturridge looked brilliant in the match and scored a screamer, the only goal of the match. Iago Aspas looked comfortable playing for a new club and so did Kolo Toure. If Liverpool are to make any sort of mark, their Brazilian midfielder Phillipe Coutinho have to lead the team’s attack and cope up with the absence of Luis Suarez who is still serving a ban for biting Ivanovic last season.
Liverpool would also count heavily from their hero of the first match, Simon Mignolet to deliver another stellar performance for them under the goal. Last season the score between the two teams was 1-1 with Villa winning the first match by a 3-1 margin and Liverpool making the second game their own with a 2-1 reply.
Team News and Injury News:
For Aston Villa, Ciaran Clark should be available after he was forced out of Chelsea’s game with a head injury while Long term term absentees Nathan Baker and winger Charles N’Zogbia are still nursing their ankle and achilles problems respectively. Otherwise Paul Lambert doesn’t face any problem and is likely to stick to the same team.
For Liverpool, Luis Suarez will only be the notable absentee and apart from that defender Sebastian Coates has suffered a knee injury and is likely to remain out of action for most part of the season. In other places, new recruits Luis Alberto who as an unused substitute last time around could get a run in, and so does fellow new signing Aly Cissokho.
Possible starting lineups
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Vlaar, Okore, Luna; El Ahmadi, Westwood, Delph; Agbonlahor, Weimann; Benteke
Liverpool: Mignolet; Enrique, Toure, Agger, Johnson; Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson; Coutinho, Sturridge, Aspas
- Aston Villa have conceded a goal in each of their last 11 Premier League matches at Villa Park.
- Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge has scored seven goals in his last six Premier League appearances.
- Liverpool attempted more shots at goal than any other side on the opening weekend (20), to follow up their league-high tally of 528 shots in 2012/13.
- Aston Villa have won just one of their last 15 Premier League home games against Liverpool (D5 L9).
- Overall, only Manchester United (13) have won more Premier League games against Aston Villa at Villa Park than Liverpool (10).
- The Reds have conceded only five goals in their last 14 trips to Villa Park in the Barclays Premier League.
- Since he made his Premier League debut, Liverpool have had a higher win percentage without Luis Suarez in their side (64%) than they have with him (39%) in the competition.
- Steven Gerrard has scored more Premier League goals against Aston Villa than versus any other side (11), including one in each of their two PL meetings in 2012/13.