Aston Villa end a busy week of fixtures by welcoming leaders Liverpool to Villa Park. Dean Smith’s team are fresh off an excellent cup win over Midland rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers. However, they will face another stern test against the unbeaten league leaders as they look to end the marvellous Liverpool run.
Aston Villa Looking to End Liverpool Run
Jack Grealish Available After Injury Scare
Aston Villa face the tricky task of trying to stop Premier League leaders Liverpool. Dean Smith’s team played extremely well at Manchester City despite losing. They will have to bring the same energy levels and commitment if they are to spring a shock on the league leaders. However, a sold-out Villa Park will roar Smith’s team and that could be a huge factor if Villa indeed get something out the game.
The big news for Aston Villa is that Jack Grealish is fully fit and available after going off injured against Manchester City. Grealish limped off in the latter stages at the Etihad Stadium but Villa’s talisman is fit and ready to go. He will be at the centre of everything Villa do, acting as the cog that drives them forward.
Liverpool will fancy their chances against an Aston Villa defence which has been leaky at times. Despite their issues, Villa’s backline is settled and have shown how good they can be. They stifled Manchester City for much of the game despite losing 3-0. Expect the game to be very similar with Liverpool likely to dominate possession and the chances at Villa Park.
The Battle Will Lie in Midfield
The contest at Villa Park could be decided by which midfield three can seize control of the game. Marvelous Nakamba, John McGinn and Douglas Luiz will have to be at their ultimate best with Liverpool’s physical three expected to control the contest. Nakamba will be crucial, with the Zimbabwe international expected to stifle Liverpool’s midfield and attack. McGinn will motor forward while Luiz is expected to find the killer pass. Villa’s midfield is blossoming well, but Liverpool’s midfield will give them a real test as to how far they have improved as a unit.
Wesley will need to find his top gear, with the Villa striker struggling to get into matches. He was very quiet at Manchester City due to his disappointing hold-up play which meant Villa struggled to get forward. The Brazilian has proved he can score goals, but he hasn’t scored at Villa Park since their win over Everton in August. He needs a goal but does have a good record of four goals in ten games. His overall play must improve but will face a tough afternoon against Virgil van Dijk. The Brazilian has to be authoritative, cause problems and most importantly bully the Liverpool centre-halves and get Villa up the pitch.
The Villa Park Crowd Will Be Vital
Aston Villa have been very good at home, especially since Dean Smith took over last year. However, the crowd will need to be at their very best when the game kicks off tomorrow. It will be a game of patience for the Villa. The fans will need to back them from minute one. Smith has regularly praised the fans and the atmosphere that Villa Park creates. It will need to be a cauldron of noise to disjoint the Liverpool team and spur the Villains on.
Villa are unbeaten since their opening home game of the season and they will be determined to keep that record intact. They are also seeking back to back home wins in the Premier League for the first time in four years. A huge test lies ahead for Villa and it will another stern examination of how far they have come.