Venue – Anfield, Liverpool
Referee – Paul Tierney
Date & Time – Sunday, July 5th @ 16:30
Current Odds – Liverpool 1/3, Draw 9/2, Aston Villa 15/2
Thursday night wasn’t pretty, was it? In a game where Liverpool pressed from the start and looked determined to lay down another marker, City just picked The Reds off with ease. Klopp was understandably tetchy after such a poor result. Everyone expects a response from the Premier League champions on Sunday against Villa.
Liverpool have a 1-1-1 record since returning to Premier League action in June. Four goals scored and four conceded. Manchester City ran rings around a hungover-looking Reds side with some players, like Andy Robertson and Joe Gomez, in particular, having a dreadful game.
On Sunday, Klopp and his team will want to put things right. They’ll want to remind the world why they’re champions and why they could win the title by the biggest margin in history.
Aston Villa Form
Dean Smith’s Aston Villa are struggling and look destined for the drop when you look at the fixtures they have remaining. A trip to Anfield to face a wounded Liverpool side is not ideal for the Villans.
Villa haven’t won a league game since they beat Watford 2-1 at Villa Park back in January, drawing two and losing six since then.
They only have two away wins this season and the last of those was 2-1 at Burnley on New Year’s Day.
Villa have only managed two goals in their last six league games so it’s hard to see where they can really post too much of a threat to Liverpool.
Liverpool Team News
Joël Matip and Xherdan Shaqiri are both out with injury for this game. Matip’s season is actually over so here’s hoping he makes a strong recovery and gets a full pre-season under his belt before the 2020/21 campaign starts.
Dejan Lovren is also carrying a slight knock but should be available for selection on Sunday.
It’s difficult to predict how Klopp will respond to Thursday night’s 4-0 defeat at Manchester City in terms of the starting eleven.
I don’t think there will be too many changes but I can see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Divock Origi getting a chance. Gini Wijnaldum could make way for Oxlade-Chamberlain while Origi may replace Roberto Firmino in attack.
Joe Gomez was taken off at half-time having really struggled at the Etihad. Klopp will have to decide if he should put the young centre-half straight back in the saddle on Sunday. I think he will.
Aston Villa Team News
Bjorn Engels, Matt Targett, Tom Heaton and Wesley are all out injured for Aston Villa.
Ørjan Nyland will continue in goals for Villa during Tom Heaton’s absence. Kortney Hause and Tyrone Mings is the likeliest of central-defensive pairings Dean Smith will go for. Neil Taylor will most likely start at left-back in place of the injured Matt Targett.
Smith will likely pack the midfield with five players and leave a lone target-man up front. I think young Keinan Davis will lead the line with a very compact midfield behind him. Jack Grealish will be the one midfielder given the freedom to roam and get forward to support Davis.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3) – Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Fabinho, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Origi, Mané
Aston Villa XI (4-5-1) – Nyland; Konsa, Hause, Mings, Taylor; Luiz, Hourihane, McGinn, Nakamba, Grealish; Davis
WHEN THEY LAST MET
In a thrilling game at Villa Park in early November, Liverpool had to dig very, very deep to come away with a late win. Trezeguet put Villa ahead in the first half but two late headers from Andy Robertson and Sadio Mané gave Liverpool all three points. That game is often credited with Reds fans and players finally believing they had a great chance of bringing home the title this season.
LIVERPOOL 3 – 0 ASTON VILLA
I expect a response and so do you. Thursday night’s defeat hurt. Klopp and his Redmen won’t like the rising narrative that they ‘downed tools’ at City as the title was already won. This could be a comfortable home win for Liverpool.