Liverpool vs Aston Villa Game 31 (4/10/21)

In any normal times, Saturday’s trip to Anfield would be considered a treacherous game for the Villans to be contemplating.  Furthermore, Liverpool will be motivated to make something of a shockingly disappointing season so far and to redress the embarrassing 7-2 drubbing at Villa Park in October.

Still, that may not be enough for the Reds to prevail.

Let us consider the factors:

In Liverpool’s Favor:

  1. The Reds have superstars who can break through any defense (Salah, Marne, Jota, and Firmino) and brilliant passers (Alexander-Arnold, Robertson, and Thiago).
  2. The Reds must win, and keep winning, if they are to guarantee a Champions League placement.
  3. The Villa are unlikely to start Jack Grealish after his extended recovery.

In Villa’s Favor:

  1. The Villa’s come-from-behind win against Fulham (without Grealish) will have gotten that monkey off their backs.
  2. They have the second-best defense (behind Man City) in the Premier League.
  3. Liverpool has yet to win at home this year and have only scored one goal (a penalty) at home in the same period.
  4. The Reds came away from Real Madrid with a dispiriting defeat during the week, leaving little time to prepare for their Villa game.
  5. Knowing that they have already counted seven against the Reds this season will be a boost to Villa confidence, as will the lack of home fans.

Aston Villa Line-Up:

While Manager Dean Smith could be tempted to start the team that put three goals past Fulham, he is more likely to stay close to his starting Fulham line-up and use his super-subs (Trézéguet, Davis, and Ramsey) as needed.  If any of the subs is more likely to get a start, it’s Trézéguet.  Another possibility is starting Nakamba for Luiz who is prone to get caught out of position and get yellow cards.

Likely Starting 11:

Martinez, Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett, Luiz, McGinn, Traore, Sanson, El Ghazi, and Watson.

Tactics and Prediction:

Inevitably, Smith will have his team emphasize defense as the longer the Reds go without a goal, the more nervous they will become and more susceptible to the fast break.  Smith won’t panic, even if the team gets behind. 

With the fresh legs of super-subs for the last thirty minutes and clinical finishing, like they demonstrated against Fulham, they could overcome a weary Liverpool team and come away with at least one point.

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