Liverpool will make the trip to Villa Park for Friday’s FA Cup third-round clash against Aston Villa.
The Reds have recently lost momentum with a three-match winless streak in the Premier League which includes a 1-0 loss to Southampton this week.
They are still top of the league standings with 33 points but are only ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, who have a game in hand.
In the title race, the bookmakers have Man City as the title favourites (two games in hand and five points behind Liverpool), and you can use this free bet calculator to see how different betting permutations map out in the title race. However, if Liverpool beat United next weekend, they will regain much-needed momentum and kill off a title race rival.
Up next, they are scheduled to face Villa on the road in the FA Cup and will be aiming to avenge the embarrassing 7-2 league defeat against them in September 2020.
The Reds have suffered losses in the previous two away meetings against Villa, where they have conceded a staggering 12 goals.
Prior to the 7-2 loss, they succumbed to a 5-0 defeat in the League Cup quarter-final last term. The Reds played their Under-23 side with the senior squad on Club World Cup duty.
They have been eight previous meetings between the teams in the FA Cup. The Reds have dominated the proceedings with six victories to Villa’s two.
Their last FA Cup meeting was during the 2015 FA Cup semi-final where the Villans came from behind to secure a 2-1 victory. They eventually lost the final to Arsenal.
Jurgen Klopp’s side have had to deal with plenty of injuries this term. Virgil van Dijk, Joe Gomez, Konstantinos Tsimikas and Diogo Jota are all out with knee injuries. Naby Keita and Joel Matip are also expected to miss the encounter with muscle and adductor problems respectively. Matip could make his comeback for the Premier League clash against Manchester United on January 17.
Wesley continues to remain a long-term absentee after his cruciate knee ligament injury in January last year. He is due to return to contact training at some point this month. Elsewhere, Trezeguet is out with a hamstring injury. Barkley has recovered from a similar problem, but manager Dean Smith has stated that the attacker may not feature against the Reds.
Liverpool XI (4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher; Neco Williams, Rhys Williams, Nathaniel Phillips, James Milner; Curtis Jones, Thiago Alcantara, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain; Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri
Aston Villa XI (4-2-3-1): Tom Heaton; Ahmed Elmohamady, Kourtney Hause, Tyrone Mings, Neil Taylor; Marvelous Nakamba, Conor Hourihane; Jacob Ramsey, Jack Grealish, Anwar El Ghazi; Ollie Watkins
There will be changes for both teams for this encounter after a congested festive schedule. Klopp is bound to rest some key defenders with the injury concerns this term and that could make the team vulnerable at the back. Still, it should be an exciting encounter with plenty of goals and we are fancying the Reds to prevail by the slimmest of margins.
Aston Villa 2-2 Liverpool (Liverpool to win on penalties)
Stats from Transfermarkt.com and 11v11.com