How Liverpool could line up against Aston Villa  | soccer4u
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How Liverpool could line up against Aston Villa 



Jurgen Klopp must go with his head above his heart as Liverpool host Aston Villa at Anfield.

While it has been reserved as an afternoon for farewells, Klopp will be firmly focused on the job at hand before letting emotion take over.

Liverpool must win to keep the pressure on fourth-placed Man United, who travel to Bournemouth at the same time on Saturday.

With two games to play for Liverpool, the Reds are a point behind Erik ten Hag’s side, having played one game more. Here’s what Klopp revealed during his press conference:

Darwin Nunez ‘will not be available’ due to ‘inflammation of the tendon in his toe’
No other news, as the “long-term injured are out, but the rest should be available”

With Liverpool in such good form, Klopp won’t need much tinkering with his squad ahead of the final games of the season. With no need for rotation at this late point in the campaign, it will likely be Diaz holding his place for a fourth start in five games.

Meanwhile, Cody Gakpo must hold his place

With James Milner leaving at the end of the season, Jordan Henderson is expected to transition into a more part-time player starting games on the bench.

He is unlikely to be ousted immediately next season, but with an eye to the future, Klopp could opt for a more youthful midfield, starting both Curtis Jones and Harvey Elliott.

29-year-old Fabinho would still be the defensive midfielder in this scenario as Jota starts over Diaz.

Whatever happens, Klopp will base his team selection on who Liverpool are most likely to win the game.

Emotions are held back until the final whistle.


Liverpool vs. Aston Villa -Preview, prediction, team news and lineups

Taking to the Anfield turf for the final time in the 2022-23 Premier League season, Liverpool welcome Aston Villa to Merseyside for Saturday afternoon’s showdown.

The Reds are seeking an eighth successive victory to remain on the coat-tails of the top four, while Unai Emery’s side still harbour ambitions of a spot on the continent.

Match preview

To the unbridled delight of the away section at the King Power and fans watching on from home, two of Liverpool’s local lads came up with the goods in Monday’s 3-0 thumping of Leicester City, who were made to pay after failing to build on a fast start against Jurgen Klopp’s in-form troops.

A quickfire Curtis Jones brace sparked a chorus of boos from the home crowd at half time, before Trent Alexander-Arnold picked out the top corner with aplomb to rub salt into the wounds for Leicester, who became the latest victims of Liverpool’s end-of-season surge.

Fighting until the end to retain their status as a Champions League club, Liverpool’s three-goal thumping of the Foxes leave Klopp’s men one point adrift of Manchester United and Newcastle United in fifth place, although both teams still have a game in hand – the Magpies will play theirs against Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday night.

The damage may have already been done earlier in the season regarding Liverpool’s top-four aspirations, but a run of three successive clean sheets is a sight for Klopp’s sore eyes, and the Reds have strung together an 11-game unbeaten home sequence in the Premier League, taking 29 points from those 33 on offer.

Furthermore, not since a 3-1 loss to Crystal Palace in the 2014-15 campaign have Liverpool suffered defeat in their final home match of the season, and Saturday’s visiting head coach already has a plethora of painful memories from his previous sojourns to the red half of Merseyside.

Seven years on from masterminding Sevilla’s Europa League final triumph over Liverpool in 2016, Emery is appropriately winless in seven successive fixtures with Liverpool, who always had Arsenal’s number during his ill-fated North London stint.

However, speaking of North London teams experiencing miserable fortunes, that is exactly what happened to Tottenham Hotspur at Villa Park last weekend, as an early Jacob Ramsey effort and a Douglas Luiz free kick – which Fraser Forster arguably should have done better with – propelled the Lions into a thoroughly merited two-goal advantage.

A controversially-awarded Harry Kane spot kick cut the deficit in half in the dying embers, but it was too little too late for a lacklustre Spurs, who now only find themselves clear of eighth-placed Villa on goal difference as the battle for Europa Conference League football intensifies.

While Emery has turned Villa Park into an intimidating fortress, shortcomings on the road are beginning to bedevil his charges; the Lions have lost their last two away from home against Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers without scoring, while also being held to a 1-1 draw versus Brentford before that.

Aside from their freak 7-2 success during the behind-closed-doors COVID-19 era, Villa have experienced little joy versus Liverpool in recent times too. A 3-1 reverse at Villa Park on Boxing Day stretched the visitors’ losing streak against the Reds to five matches, and not since a Gabriel Agbonlahor winner in 2014 have they come away from Anfield with all three points in the bag.

Earlier this week, it was confirmed that all of Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and James Milner would depart Liverpool upon the expiration of their contracts in June, and tributes will be paid to the quartet for their final home game in Merseyside red.

Klopp is optimistic that Firmino will recover from a muscular issue in time for his farewell Anfield appearance, although the same cannot be said for Keita, while Thiago Alcantara (hip), Stefan Bajcetic (adductor) and Calvin Ramsay (knee) remain out for the long-term.

Darwin Nunez has also emerged as a fresh doubt after a toe problem kept him out of the win over Leicester, but soon-to-be free agent Firmino would expect to temporarily demote the Uruguayan in the pecking order either way – a spot on the bench and emotional cameo role will await the former if he can prove his fitness in time.

In contrast to his compatriot, Firmino’s international teammate Philippe Coutinho might miss out on a reunion with his former club after picking up an unspecified injury, but the former Reds attacker would have only made the bench either way.

With Matty Cash returning to the matchday squad versus Tottenham after shaking off a calf problem, backup goalkeeper Jed Steer – who is out for the season with a calf injury of his own – will be the Lions’ only other injury absentee for the trip to Anfield, where Emery may tinker with his team in spite of last week’s success.

It would not be a shock to see Boubacar Kamara reintroduced into the fray for a touch of midfield steel, in turn pushing Leon Bailey out of the XI as John McGinn takes up a wide role.

Liverpool possible starting lineup:

Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:

Martinez; Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno; Ramsey, Kamara, Luiz, McGinn; Buendia, Watkins

We say: Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa

With their goalscoring powers on the road starting to wane, Villa will travel to Merseyside in hope rather than expectation against a Liverpool side who have proven adept in shutting up shop over the past few weeks.

Emery’s men certainly command plenty of respect from their Anfield adversaries, but we cannot envisage any other result than a routine success for Klopp’s Champions League-chasing crop.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


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