Villa perspective: David Grimble, Up The Villa
As we head into a crucial time of the season, Villa are looking relatively healthy overall, with only a few doubts for the Liverpool match. Ciaran Clark picked up a shoulder injury on International duty with the Republic of Ireland, and faces a late fitness test. Darren Bent is back fit, and he could be a welcome addition to the squad. Fabian Delph is also available after a two game suspension, and he’s impressed many Villa fans with his performances recently.
After only losing 1-0 to Manchester City courtesy of a Ciaran Clark mistake, Villa followed that up with two massively important victories. A 2-1 win away at Reading spelt the end of Brian McDermott’s reign at the club. A 3-2 victory against QPR last time out meant Villa fans got to experience the highs of actually winning two games in a row, but more importantly opened up a bit of a gap between us, and the bottom three.
Our 3-1 victory at Anfield earlier this season was arguably our best display of the season, with Christian Benteke stealing the show. He scored two, and set up Andreas Weimann for the other with an outrageous back-heel that might be the assist of the season. A repeat of that would do just nicely, but I think most Villa fans would take a point right now if offered.
Steven Gerrard to score at 3.45. Gerrard loves playing against the Villa, and it would be no surprise at all to see him pop up with a goal or two.
Villa/Draw HT/FT at 16.00. I think it should be a good game, and Villa will hopefully have a bit of confidence after two wins on the bounce. I expect us to start well, but Liverpool could peg us back in the second half.
Christian Benteke to score first at 7.00. He’s been a revelation this season, and the price on offer represents good value. Barry Bannan should start, and Benteke could benefit from his good delivery.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool (7.50)
Liverpool perspective: Antoine Zammit, Empire of the Kop
Liverpool travel to Villa Park and try to erase the memory of the lacklustre performance against Southampton. Jamie Carragher and Pepe Reina have both passed fitness tests and are available to start. Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly are still injured, however.
The Reds seemed to be on the rise after an impressive run of form, only for it all come crashing down against The Saints. We hope to bounce back and erase the memory of the south coast loss on Sunday.
Liverpool have played Aston Villa 182 times, winning 89. Last season's game ended 0-2 with Craig Bellamy and Martin Skrtel giving the Reds all three points. Last December, however, Aston Villa stunned Liverpool when a Benteke double and a Weimann goal saw them win at Anfield. Steven Gerrard got the consultation goal that day.
Liverpool to win at 1.72. I think we'll get back on track with a win here.
Luis Suarez to score at 2.00. The Uruguayan has been deadly in recent months and will fancy his chances against Villa.
Under 2.5 goals at 2.15. I think we'll have some joy in Birmingham but this won't be a goalfest.
Score prediction: Aston Villa 0-2 Liverpool
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