Liverpool will take on Aston Villa in a Boxing Day encounter that the Reds will hope to win.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa: Preview
Aston Villa’s last four Premier League meetings with Liverpool have all ended in defeat for the home side, who still have that 7-2 win from October 2020 (a red herring really) to brag about, but the Reds have won a club-record 15 Premier League matches at Villa Park.
The Reds will be looking to rebound from their 3-2 EFL Cup defeat to Manchester City in midweek and win three consecutive Premier League games for the first time since 2022/23. After a poor start to the season, the Reds have firmly re-entered the Champions League race with their first away win of the season against Spurs, followed by a 3-1 home win against the Saints.
Klopp’s injury list continues to grow, as James Milner (hamstring) and Roberto Firmino (calf) will miss the next few games, joining Curtis Jones, Arthur, Luis Diaz, and Diogo Jota. Firmino suffered an injury in training earlier this week, and Milner suffered a hamstring injury at Etihad Stadium. However, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is available. Trent Alexander-Arnold, on the other hand, may not start due to his illness.
Alisson Becker will also return to goal for EFL Cup specialist Caoimhin Kelleher, while Darwin Nunez will be given another chance after squandering numerous chances at the Etihad. Meanwhile, after helping France reach the World Cup final, Ibrahima Konate will return to training with the Reds. Virgil van Dijk, on the other hand, should make a timely return to the heart of the defense.
Given Trent’s illness, we expect Gomez to start. Additionally, we expect Joel Matip to join Virgil van Dijk. Fabio Carvalho may start at the left wing in place of Luis Diaz.
We expect Liverpool to revert back to a 4-3-3 line-up. Our predicted line-up:
Alisson; Gomez, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Elliott, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Nunez, Carvalho
Match Prediction (keep your salt grains handy)
Liverpool had a disastrous first half against Manchester City. Pep Guardiola’s men threatened to run away with the game and punish Liverpool’s defensive errors. However, Liverpool found a way back into the game. But the concerning thing is still Nunez’s finishing. The Uruguayan can’t seem to find the back of the goal with a pair of binoculars.
The hope here is that Klopp has drilled in the intensity and the counter-pressing nous that Liverpool has lacked so much this season. However, Liverpool doesn’t have the physicality in midfield. Fabinho is going through a rough patch and Henderson lacks the physicality to track runners and win back possession.
Nor do they have many options in the attack. Luis Diaz’s absence will be felt as no one can stretch the pitch on the left flank (other than Robertson). Fabio Carvalho is a square peg in a round hole. Suffice it to say, Liverpool’s only attacking threat is Mohamed Salah.
Additionally, Unai Emery is a shrewd foe. Villareal’s counter-attacking caused much havoc for teams last season. Therefore, it would be difficult for Liverpool to find a result as Klopp’s men had much difficulty in neutralizing counter-attacks. Liverpool will definitely score but a draw might be the most likely result.
Our prediction: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool