Villa may struggle to end their miserable run against the Reds
Brendan Rodgers believes we will see a different Liverpool in the second half of the campaign with encouraging signs that some of their big money signings are finally getting to grips with the pace of the Premier League.
Emre Can and Alberto Moreno have been much improved in recent matches and Lazar Markovic scored last Saturday’s winner at Sunderland which moved the Reds up to eighth in the table and only five points off a Champions League place.
Raheem Sterling will return to the Liverpool squad for the trip to the Midlands to take on Aston Villa with Daniel Sturridge getting ever closer to a first team return.
Adam Lallani remains sidelined, however, and Oussama Assaidi has been shipped out to Dubai side Al Ahli after a forgettable couple of years at Anfield in which he only managed 12 appearances.
Villa Park has been a happy hunting ground for Liverpool.
They’ve only lost on one of their last 16 visits and Villa have only scored five goals in 15 home league matches against the Merseysiders, though have score first in five of the last six matches between the clubs.
Paul Lambert’s team are 13/8 to open the scoring this weekend but it will surprise no-one that we have Liverpool at 5/6 to be leading at the final whistle.
Villa have won just one of their last eight matches at Villa Park but are unbeaten in their last five. However, they need to turn draws into wins if they are to put daylight between themselves and the bottom three.
The Villa Park faithful will be hoping new signing Carles Gil can boost their goal-shy attack.
The former Spanish U21 midfielder has been signed from Valencia and could feature against the Reds but captain Ron Vlaar remains injured and Ciaran Clark is suspended having been sent off in last week’s ill-tempered defeat at Leicester.
It’s not difficult to imagine that Villa might be chasing this game in the final quarter so Mario Balotelli could be a decent bet to score the last goal at 9/2 as he has a good scoring record at Villa Park.
The match kicks off at 3.00pm on Saturday, January 17th at Villa Park.