Venue – Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee – Lee Mason
Date & Time – Tuesday, December 17th @ 19:45
Current Odds – Aston Villa 1/5, Draw 6/1, Liverpool 11/1
Even though Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final is technically a fixture for the senior squad, Liverpool will field a youth team due to the clash with the first-team’s commitments at the Club World Cup in Qatar.
Neil Critchley, Liverpool’s U23s manager, will take the charge of the team on the night. It’s hugely unlikely Critchley or his youngsters will taste success on Wednesday night against what will be probably close to a full-strength Villa team. However, they’ll give it their best shot and the game will provide some much-needed experience for the club’s ‘kids’.
Aston Villa Form
Villa have only won one of their last seven games and have lost their last three matches in a row. A win on Tuesday night may just be the kick-start Dean Smith and his team needs to get the season going again. It is also a great opportunity for them to progress to the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and, ultimately, find themselves three games from potential silverware.
A redundant discussion to have regarding this selection of players, thrown into the mixing pot for a fixture meant for a more senior group.
Aston Villa Team News
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa squad is missing Conor Hourihane, Jed Steer and Tyrone Mings.
Striker Keinan Davis faces a late fitness test but will be eager to start against The Reds in a rare opportunity for the youngster to impress on the bigger stage.
Tom Heaton will most likely start in place of Jed Steer who had played the previous game in the Carabao Cup this season.
Liverpool Team News
The bulk of Liverpool’s first-team squad has travelled to Qatar for this week’s Club World Cup tournament.
From the thrilling penalty shootout victory over Arsenal in the last round, The Reds should have four players available to start against Villa – Caoimhin Kelleher, Sepp van den Berg, Harvey Elliott and Rhian Brewster.
Critchley will more than likely be expected to set the team out in a 4-3-3 shape.
Aston Villa XI (4-3-3) – Heaton; El-Mohamady, Konsa, Hause, Taylor; Lansbury, Luiz, McGinn; El Ghazi, Davis, Trezeguet
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Kelleher; Hoever, Clayton, Van den Berg, Larouci; Dixon-Bonner, Chirivella, Kane; Elliott, Brewster, Longstaff
When they last met
Liverpool’s full-strength first-team managed a late turnaround at Villa Park in early November. Villa lead for most of the game until goals from Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mané won the points for Liverpool right at the death.
ASTON VILLA 2 – 0 LIVERPOOL
Considering Aston Villa will be playing a far more experienced, senior team, I think it’s too tall an order to expect any positive result for The Reds. Players like Rhian Brewster and Harvey Elliott are bound to give Villa some problems on the night. However, at the end of the day, Villa will be looking for safe passage to the semi-finals, in a competition Dean Smith will feel they can win.