It would be fair to say that it’s been a very promising campaign for both of these outfits this term. For the first time in many a year Liverpool are being classed as title challengers, while Aston Villa seem to have shaken off their relegation woes from last term and occupy 11th spot.
It’s been a long, long time since Liverpool could say they were six points behind the league leaders at this stage of the season, but that’s exactly what has occurred this time around and there is a new brand of optimism surrounding Anfield at the moment. Even if the Reds don’t push the leaders until the end, the fact that they have kept a Champions League position for much of the season will have encouraged supporters greatly and could prove pivotal when it comes to bargaining power with potential new players in the summer. For now, Rodgers’ side will just be looking to continue the form that has seen them win all three of their January outings. Such wins have come off the back of defeats to Chelsea and Manchester City at the end of December, so it’s clear that the Anfield outfit have responded adequately and are over their blip.
Aston Villa on the other hand came in for a bit of criticism after a dreadful first half display to Arsenal, but the fact that the Villains are in stable position for now must please fans. Admittedly, just five points separate them from the drop zone, but this just emphasises the tightness of the bottom half. In the end, they pushed Arsenal right until the last minute on Monday night, although the defeat still means that they have lost three of their last five. On a more positive note, Villa do have one of the more respectable away records in the division and this could prove crucial against a side who are renowned for their home form.
Following his superb return from injury, the general consensus is that Daniel Sturridge has done enough to warrant a start and he should partner Luis Suarez for Liverpool. There’s also good news for Brendan Rodgers in other areas of the field, with Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho both pushing for starts after their injury niggles. Aston Villa have been busy in the transfer market meanwhile and Grant Holt and Ryan Bertrand will both be hoping for starts following their recent moves. One man who won’t be featuring is Nathan Baker though, as concussion rules him out of the clash.
Aston Villa may have a decent record on the road, but we don’t see this stopping Liverpool in their tracks. The Reds have looked impressive at Anfield this term and on the back of three straight wins this month, our tip is going to be a 3-1 win for Brendan Rodgers’ side.