Liverpool will be back on the road as they meet Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon, where a host of senior figures will return to the fold.
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
Saturday, November 2, 2019 – 3pm (GMT)
Referee: Jonathan Moss
Jurgen Klopp‘s side capped off another week of action in memorable fashion having taken the term end-to-end football to another level with a 5-5 draw against Arsenal in the League Cup which required a penalty shootout to separate the two teams.
While not a lesson in the art of defending, the Reds secured their passage to the last eight of the competition after Curtis Jones landed the final decisive blow from the spot following Caoimhin Kelleher‘s effort in denying Dani Ceballos.
The evening proved to be a night not to forget for a host of youngsters who were handed the opportunity to make their Anfield bow, while simultaneously providing a break for a plethora of senior faces and releasing the pressure valve which comes with Premier League action.
The hosts similarly experienced midweek joy of their own with a 2-1 win over Wolves, setting up a meeting with the Reds in the next round should an appropriate time and date be identified.
The victory for Aston Villa was their fourth in six games across all competitions, with a 3-0 defeat last weekend at the hands of Man City inflicting their first defeat in four games.
Dean Smith’s side will, therefore, welcome Liverpool with a heightened level of confidence having collected eight of their 11 points in the topflight from their last six games.
Nevertheless, Klopp’s Reds head into the encounter as strong favourites with the opportunity to collect another three points and set up the clash with City whereby another win at Anfield would establish a nine-point lead over their closest rivals.
As ever, it is another crucial outing in the league where the opportunity to extend the unbeaten run to 28 and secure the tenth win of the campaign is up for grabs.
Liverpool have a near full-strength squad at their disposal for the trip, with Joel Matip remaining on the sidelines alongside Xherdan Shaqiri – both of whom are expected to return following the international break.
The only concern surrounds the fitness of Naby Keita who was withdrawn with 55 minutes on the clock against Arsenal after slipping and rising rather gingerly and leaving him with a noticeable limp.
Following the final whistle on Wednesday evening Klopp had revealed the injury was “not so serious” but on Friday acknowledged that his condition was yet to be fully determined and thus his presence in the squad is doubtful.
With a history of injury since his move to Merseyside, the medical staff will no doubt err on the side of caution.
Elsewhere, there is no concern over Mohamed Salah after the effects of the ankle injury he sustained against Leicester in early October forced him from the field against Spurs.
With Dejan Lovren expected to keep hold of his place alongside Virgil van Dijk ahead of Joe Gomez and the remainder of the back-line and front three all expected to return to the side the only consideration for Klopp will come in the middle of the park.
A pause will be taken over Fabinho who is usually one of the first names on the team sheet as he is walking a disciplinary tightrope after collecting four yellow cards, where another against Villa would see him suspended for City’s visit.
It is something Klopp told the media he has to weigh up, but the Reds are not short on options as both Gini Wijnaldum and Jordan Henderson will be restored with the latter in the No. 6 role, while Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain – following two goals and an assist in two games – and James Milner will also be in contention.
On the Villa front, forward Keinan Davis has been ruled out with a hamstring injury while captain Jack Grealish is expected to feature having overcome a knock to his calf against City.
Last 5 Away to Aston Villa (All Competitions)
Won 6-0 – February 2016 (Sturridge, Milner, Can, Origi, Clyne, Toure)
Won 2-0 – January 2015 (Borini, Lambert)
Won 1-0 – August 2013 (Sturridge)
Won 2-1 – March 2013 (Benteke; Henderson, Gerrard)
Won 2-0 – December 2011 (Bellamy, Skrtel)
Away fans’ pubs: Witton Arms
A piece of advice for visiting fan: Catch the train. The ground is less than a five-minute walk away, with the pub around the corner from the station.
Did You Know?
The Reds have fallen to defeat at Villa Park just once in the previous 18 Premier League meetings.
It was a loss which came in a narrow 1-0 defeat in May 2011, where ex-Red Stewart Downing found the net to steer caretaker coach and fellow former Red Gary McAllister to victory.
But Liverpool are currently on a run of five successive wins at Villa, and another three points on Saturday will see Klopp’s men secure a 14th straight league win over promoted sides – a feat which will be helped by the fact that the Reds have scored in all of their last 19 Premier League fixtures.
Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 5-4 on pens vs. Arsenal
Won 2-1 vs. Tottenham
Won 4-1 vs. Genk
Drew 1-1 vs. Man United
Won 2-1 vs. Leicester
Aston Villa – Last five results (all competitions)
Won 2-1 vs. Wolves
Lost 3-0 vs. Man City
Won 2-1 vs. Brighton
Won 5-1 vs. Norwich
Drew 2-2 vs. Burnley
Speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, the boss voiced his pleasure at Liverpool’s positive start to the season but insisted that they cannot take their eye of the ball when they visit a Villa side full of confidence:
“The only thing we are thinking about is Aston Villa and how we can deal with that challenge.
“It’s a tough one. Aston Villa are obviously a very very good team, their start was a bit unlucky and they’ve performed very much from the beginning but didn’t get the results.
“And now they are getting the results and now they are, through the quality they have, full of confidence as well.
“They will 100 percent want to be one reason that our start will not be even better than it is so far – so we have to be ready for that.”
TV & Liveblog Info
With Liverpool’s clash with Aston Villa scheduled for the traditional Saturday 3pm kick-off, the match will not be broadcast live on UK television.
However, you will not miss a moment as Chris Williams will be on hand to talk you through all the action on This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, providing minute-by-minute updates and keeping you entertained from 2.15pm.