Liverpool v Aston Villa preview- Premiership

Game : Liverpool FC (3rd -61 points) vs Aston Villa ( 5th- 52 points)

Competition : English Premier League

Venue : Anfield, Liverpool

Date : Sunday, March 21, 2009

Kickoff : 16.00 GMT

Liverpool will look to build on their great results against Manchester United and Real Madrid when they host Champions League chasing Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon.

The Reds demolished Manchester United 4-1 at Old Trafford to throw the league open once again, and go into this game on a high. Full back Alvaro Arbeloa is expected to return on the right after missing the game against United due to a warm up injury. Both Xabi Alonso and Yossi Benayoun are making excellent progress too, and could also be in the squad for this game.

Liverpool form- last five games- all competitions- Liverpool scorers in brackets

Manchester United 1-4 Liverpool ( Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio, Andrea Dossena)
Liverpool 4-0 Real Madrid ( Steven Gerrard*2, Fernando Torres, Andrea Dossena)
Liverpool 2-0 Sunderland ( David Ngog, Yossi Benayoun)
Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool
Real Madrid 0-1 Liverpool ( Yossi Benayoun)

Aston Villa, who were doing so well a month or two ago, have had a dip in form recently. They have picked up only point in their last three league games, and Arsenal have overtaken them in the race for fourth place. One big reason is the absence of the ever reliable Martin Laursen in defence. Gabriel Agbonlahor has also struggled to find the back of the net, and O’Neill might consider putting the youngster on the bench and starting with John Carew in his preferred formation.

Aston Villa form- last five games- all competitions- Aston Villa scorers in brackets

Aston Villa 1-2 Tottenham Hotspur ( John Carew)
Man City 2-0 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 2-2 Stoke City ( Stilian Petrov, John Carew)
CSKA Moscow 2-0 Aston Villa
Aston Villa 0-1 Chelsea

While this is an important fixture for the Villains, it is more important for Liverpool who must continue their winning habit to keep their title hopes alive. Three out of the last four games between Villa and Liverpool have ended in a draw, and Liverpool would do well to remember that the last time they beat United in the league, they followed it up with a draw against lowly Stoke.

I think Liverpool’s need here is greater than Villa’s, and that is what will see them pick up all three points.

Verdict:- Liverpool 2-1 Aston Villa ( Torres, Kuyt/Milner)

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