It’s unusual to be going into a Villa v Liverpool game with a sense of anticipation. This has nothing to do with the media circus around Gerrard’s return to Anfield and everything to do with Villa’s improvement since his arrival.
This will be a tough game, make no mistake, with Klopp’s side positioning to go top of the league with a game in hand over Manchester City.
Villa travel in improved form. Wins over Brighton, away to Palace and last time out against Leicester raise our stock. We also remain off the radar to opposition, quietly having arrested a malaise under Dean Smith and having run Man City close during the second half of Gerrard’s only defeat.
Key to any success this afternoon will be ensuring our defensive progress is sustained. Lapses in concentration, such as the sloppy late goal at Selhurst Park, will be punished.
Equally Villa will need to be ruthless up-front. We have created a number of dangerous openings since Gerrard’s arrival, but we have at times been wasteful. Our famous 7-2 mauling of Klopp’s side should serve as a reminder that anything is possible.
VILLA TEAM NEWS
Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett.
McGinn, Nakamba, Luiz, Ramsey, Young.
Subs: Steer, Tuanzebe, Hause, Sanson, Chukwuemeka, El Ghazi, Buendia, Ings, Trezeguet.