Liverpool host Aston Villa today looking to get their league campaign back on track after some dreary results in recent games.
Villa are on a bad run of form themselves with three defeats in their last six games.
We caught up with Villa fan and radio presenter, Ben Coleman, in Liverpool this morning to get the view from the away end.
So, we’re playing you on Saturday, how confident are you going into this game?
With Villa’s dismal current form I would normally be dreading the outcome of any game, but Liverpool have also endured a horrible run of late and with Pepe Reina suspended I’m feeling unusually optimistic about Villa’s trip to Anfield.
What do you make Aston Villa’s season so far and recent results?
This season has seen the completion of Villa’s fall from grace. It’s hard to watch Villa this season, especially under McLeish. There has been a sense of negativity around Villa Park now for a long time and it’s not just to do with McLeish previously managing the Blues. Seeing Villa attack the opponents goal is a rarity these days and fans have been taking their frustrations out on both players and manager. Booing Stephen Warnock after his own goal against QPR is just one example of this. Only a few years ago we were possible contenders for 4th place. This season however we find ourselves slowly being dragged in to a relegation dogfight. Our recent results have been appalling. There is a distinct lack of desire to want to win games at the moment. Hopefully, we can turn it around this weekend and get the three points we so desperately need.
Which player in Villa’s team will pose a danger to Liverpool?
Stephen Ireland’s current form has been fantastic. After a slow and frustrating start to his Villa career he is starting to show the talent we once saw when he played for Manchester City. His ability to take the game on with the ball at his feet is brilliant and on his day he can be a real force. If he turns up for the game then Ireland could cause real trouble for Liverpool.
Stewart Downing has had mixed fortunes in his first season at Anfield since making the switch from Villa Park. Do you think he’ll come good for us?
I have always been a great admirer of Stewart Downing. Controversially, I was worried more about losing him than I was of Ashley Young, but after he made it clear that he wanted to leave Villa Park and when Liverpool came in with a £20 million bid, I think Randy Lerner and a lot of Villa fans were rubbing their hands together with pound signs in their eyes. He has a brilliant turn of pace and his crossing is exceptional. Don’t forget that when Liverpool signed him he had the highest cross completion rate in the Premiership. This, however, means nothing if you have no one in the box to cross the ball to. I think things are now starting to click for Downing. If he is continued to be given time, then I really believe that he could live up to his rather expensive price tag.
And finally, your prediction and scorers please?
With the relegation zone looming for Villa this is must win game. I think it will be a tight and unattractive game but i can see villa just nicking it.
1-0 To Villa. Agbonlahor.
Thanks very much for your time Ben and enjoy the game – but not too much! You can follow Ben on Twitter @mr_coletrain.