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Match Preview: Liverpool vs Aston Villa (5.30pm)

Liverpool will be hoping for no slip-ups at home to Paul Lambert’s Aston Villa in the late Premier League kick-off on Saturday afternoon.

STOKE-ON-TRENT, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 12, 2014: Liverpool's captain Steven Gerrard celebrates scoring the third goal against from the penalty spot during the Premiership match at the Britannia Stadium. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Saturday, 18th January 2014; 5.30pm kick-off
Premier League

Liverpool have made the perfect start to 2014, with victories over Hull City and Stoke City in the league and Oldham Athletic in the FA Cup.

However, they continue to need to win every game to stay in the top four, where they start before this weekend’s rounds of games, which will surely see lots of online betting due to the history of this fixture.

With Arsenal at home to Fulham and Manchester City at home to Cardiff on Saturday with Chelsea playing Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, Brendan Rodgers’ men can’t afford to let any points slip against Villa.

The opposition

Villa have already been busy in the transfer market this January, with Grant Holt and Ryan Bertrand possibly making their debuts for the club at Anfield.

They currently sit 11th in the table after a sluggish start to the season, however a gulf of 18 points separate them from Liverpool.

Having suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Sheffield United in the FA Cup, and at home to Arsenal on Monday night, Lambert’s men will be looking for their first points since a 1-0 win at Sunderland on New Year’s Day.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Saturday, December 15, 2012: Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers and Aston Villa's manager Paul Lambert during the Premiership match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Team news

Daniel Sturridge returned as a second-half substitute at Stoke last week to set-up Luis Suarez for a goal, and then grab one himself. He could make his first start after his ankle injury.

Joe Allen and Mamadou Sakho return to the matchday squad after injuries picked up in the 2-1 defeat at Chelsea last month, although there are still doubts over Sakho’s fitness and the French international may require a late fitness test.

Expect Steven Gerrard to play in the holding midfield role Brendan Rodgers alluded to in comments after the victory at the Britannia Stadium last weekend.

TV coverage

The match is live on Sky Sports 1 in the UK, and highlights on Match of the Day on BBC One at 10.20pm.

Get the historic souvenir Liverpool vs. Real Madrid Champions League Final 2022 matchday programme, with worldwide delivery.

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