Be Prepared: The Villa Preview

Stu Forster

We head back to Anfield for our 2nd meeting with Aston Villa this season, hoping we can do the double.

US: 12:30PM EST, NBC

UK: 5:30PM GMT, Sky Sports 1

The Reds look to continue their fine home form against a Villa side who were unlucky to not gain a point after a late resurrection thanks to Christian Benteke's late consolation at Villa Park against Arsenal on Monday.

Villa only have one win in their past 6, which came against Sunderland away from home, and so no one's giving Paul Lambert's 11th placed side a chance, really... Especially with the SAS on its way back.

But that may work in their favor. At this stage of the campaign last year, Aston Villa looked the side most likely to go down, and didn't. Largely because of Benteke's goal scoring.

And even though he isn't on the same form as he was last season, he's still a threat. And I'm guessing our team won't be so different from the one who played against Stoke, and Kolo Toure had a torrid time against Peter Crouch, this might be as tough, if not tougher, than his last outing. Please, someone get Sakho in there. He was supposed to be back for Stoke, but didn't make it after all. However, he's back in training.

But all of this isn't to say we definitely are gonna have a tough time.... For the first time in awhile, we can go into games confident that even if we do concede, (even though we acknowledge that our lack of clean sheets is indeed a problem) that we can go out and score oodles. I think last week showed us that.

On the injury front, Joe Allen has also returned to training with Sakho, and Brendan has said he's going to check for more on Sakho in the coming days, with Enrique and Flanno still out, but getting better.

It also helps that Stevie G is getting better and better over the past couple weeks... He's got an excellent record against Aston Villa, scoring 11 goals in 23 games against the Villains.

Daniel Sturridge will also look to add to the goal he scored in September's 1-0 win at Villa Park, and the 10 goals he has so far this season, in what might be a full return from injury after he played a vital role in our win last week against Stoke, coming on and notching an assist for Luis Suarez and a goal of his own, coming in as a 2nd half sub for Phillipe Coutinho.

AA's thoughts:

-It may be time to give Phillipe Coutinho a rest, he's been a bit worked lately and looked a bit lackluster at times into the bargain. He's not been as crisp as he was last season, and Brendan wants all of his attacking players chipping in with goals. So maybe give him time on the bench, just to refresh himself a wee bit. (JAceKopite)

-Kolo Toure marked Benteke well in the fixture in September, but might have more of a problem this time out, Benteke rarely makes the same mistakes twice. (JAceKopite)

-Martin Skrtel's not a wrestler. He's a footballer, and his grabbing on corners needs to stop, even if he's not the only one who does it, it's still wrong. (JAceKopite)

-The Merseyside Derby is already creeping to the forefront of my attention, but first it is imperative that Liverpool dispatch Villa coldly. A 2-0 victory without drama is what I'm looking for, but what I want in sports I rarely receive. (loyal2reds)

-Villa have cooled a bit since we played them at the start of the year but our defense has gotten leakier as well... where that leaves us I don't know. (Matt)

-I will say that I hope Sakho is fit enough to start.  Toure is not the man to muscle up against Benteke and Skrtel's reputation as a "defensive enforcer" is hollower than a log chewed out by termites. (Matt)

-It will be VERY interesting to see who makes way for Sturridge.  BR has all his attacking options fit for a change (excluding Allen I think) so someone loses a game of musical chairs.  I'm going to guess it's Raheem with Hendo going wide right.  But I think it SHOULD be Phil taking a breather, moving Raheem left and Hendo right.  (Matt)

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