Liverpool v Aston Villa
Premier League, Saturday 7th April, 3pm
Liverpool host relegation threatened Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday, looking to end their abysmal run of form that has seen them lose six of their last seven Premier League games.
Kenny Dalglish is without goalkeeper Pepe Reina who was dismissed in the Newcastle defeat last Sunday, so Brazilian Alexander Doni will get his long awaited debut after arriving from AS Roma last summer.
Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger could return to the squad but are unlikely to start, so Jamie Carragher will no doubt continue at centre-back, leaving Sebastian Coates still out in the cold.
Who starts in attack is a million dollar question. Suarez of course, Carroll who knows, Bellamy maybe, Downing possibly, Kuyt unlikely and Maxi even more unlikely. Those last two are reported to be leaving this summer today, by the way.
In midfield, Jonjo Shelvey – one of the few bright spots in the dismal Newcastle defeat – will no doubt be replaced by the much maligned Jordan Henderson.
Possible LFC XI: Doni, Flanagan, Skrtel, Carragher, Enrique, Spearing, Gerrard, Henderson, Downing, Suarez, Carroll.
Interesting Fact: Jamie Carragher has made more appearances (25) against Villa than any Liverpool player ever. He made his full debut against them back in January 1997, incredibly scoring a header at the Kop end in a midfield role!
Here’s the EA Sports Player Performance Index pre-match stats;
• Liverpool suffered a 2-0 defeat to Newcastle in their last game
• As Liverpool prepare for a tough end to the season and an FA cup semi final, they will be looking to talismanic midfielder Steven Gerrard for inspiration
• Discounting players who have had fewer than twenty shots on goal, Gerrard has the second best shooting accuracy in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, getting 80% of his 25 shots at goal this season on target
• With Adel Taarabt scoring for QPR in their last game Stewart Downing now has the honour of being the player to have had most shots on goal without scoring (57)
• Aston Villa honoured captain Stiliyan Petrov by running Chelsea close in their last game
• Petrov has contributed more defensively for his team than any other midfielder in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index, with 235 contributions across tackles, interceptions, blocks and clearances
• James Collins and Eric Lichaj scored to level the scores at 2-2 before Fernando Torres and Branislav Ivanovic made it 4-2
• Collins’ aerial ability has been put to more use at the other end of the pitch this season, making 71 clearances, the second highest total in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index
• Collins is also joint top of the index for blocks, having made 33 so far this season
• Overall, Collins has been the busiest defender in the league so far this season, making 334 defensive contributions across tackles, blocks, clearances, and interceptions, averaging one every seven minutes thirty seconds
• Stephen Warnock is second in the EA SPORTS Player Performance Index for tackles won with 77 won so far this season