Saturday, August 24
UK: 5:30 pm BST on SkySports1
US: 12:30 pm ET on NBC
Yeah, that's the actual NBC. Football has supplanted mini-disc golf and the world thumb wrestling federation in popularity in the US.
Liverpool are coming off a heart pounding 1-0 victory over Stoke, and Villa were riding high until a hard fought midweek loss to Chelsea brought them back to earth a bit. In recent history, this has been a quietly troubling match up for Liverpool. Since 2009-10, there have been two shit shows in this fixture, with both coming at Anfield. Back at the beginning of that 2009-10 season, Liverpool lost 3-1 to the Villans at home in a game that set the stage for what would be a very disappointing season. Liverpool also had a terrible showing last year, again falling 3-1 in a match remembered for the way Villa striker Christian Benteke terrorized the Reds.
Aston Villa aren't nearly the same team that challenged for Champions League football a few years ago with young up and comers such as James Milner and Ashley Young. This is a bit sad in my opinion because I thought a competitive Villa was a cool thing to see. There are those teams that you irrationally despise and those that you kind of like for no reason, and Villa sit in the latter category for me.
While they very well may be in for a relegation battle, Villa are still a side with some notable players that can be electric on any given night. However, Liverpool have to be going into the match feeling like heavy favorites to swipe all three points.
What we'll be looking for in this one:
Benteke gave the back four fits in their meeting at Anfield last season and gave a lot of other teams troubles too. Can Toure and Agger step up and control this physical monster? (Adam)
Aston Villa are usually pretty garbage against big time opposition, but from time to time they'll shock a team with the quick whipping counter attack that Adam mentioned. The key for Liverpool is to bury them early in a fashion similar to the 6-0 Newcastle thrashing last season. Once we take have them by the throat, Villa will have to stretch out their already porous side, making it easy for the Reds to dissect them further. (loyal2reds)
Kolo Toure had a great game last weekend, but Agbonlahor-Benteke-Weimann is just a whole lot better than Etherington-Crouch-Walters. I want to see how the free signing holds up against Benteke, a player I feel to be the premier target man type in the division. (Matt)
The starting 11 should be similar to last week. Aly Cissokho has arrived so if we need more in the attack he may be brought on as a substitute. For now I think that Enrique's starting role is secure though. (loyal2reds)
This match starts at 9:30 for me. This is one of the best things I've heard all week, considering the 4:30 wake up last weekend. (loyal2reds)
Having said that, both Aspas and Sturridge have been on good form and as always Coutinho will look to push forward as much as possible. Can their defense continue their surge of good form or is it just early season luck? (JAceKopite16)
L2R is right, a first goal is absolutely crucial because the longer Villa gets to play on the counter, the better chance they've got. That's no slight to Villa, Lambert has done very well in developing the club's style and they can be absolutely lethal and direct on the break. We'll get some early chances, and if we take them we'll get the three points. (Matt)
Can Liverpool handle the counter? Villa's counter attack has proven lethal, right Gooners? (Adam)
Villa's defense has proven shaky in the past, as stated above. But Villa fans are impressed with their improvement in the closed season and now are looking forward to what they think is a decent season. (JAceKopite16)