LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 28, 2020: Liverpool’s Joe Gomez (L) and Virgil van Dijk before the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Reds aim to keep perfect start going – Aston Villa vs. Liverpool Preview

Liverpool make the trip to Aston Villa on Sunday evening, with both teams looking to maintain their 100 percent starts to the Premier League season.

Aston Villa vs. Liverpool

Sunday, October 4, 2020 – 7.15pm (BST)
Villa Park
Premier League (4)
Referee: Martin Atkinson

The Reds beat Arsenal 3-1 on Monday night, it what was a big early signal of intent in the title race.

Jurgen Klopp‘s team were magnificent from the moment the game kicked off and the Gunners were powerless to do anything about the eventual result.

Defeat to Arsenal did occur in the League Cup fourth round on Thursday night, but it isn’t a result that will cause Klopp too much discomfort.

Next up is Sunday’s trip to Villa, prior to the international break halting the domestic campaign next week.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Sunday, December 8, 2019: Aston Villa's captain Jack Grealish, wearing a rainbow coloured captain's armband, during the FA Premier League match between Aston Villa FC and Leicester City FC at Villa Park. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Dean Smith’s side are in a good run of form in their own right, with two wins out of two in the league, even if they were also dumped out of the League Cup by Stoke.

There is no denying that Liverpool go into the contest as red-hot favourites, however, especially after such a promising showing in the first of the two games against Arsenal.

Last season’s dramatic late win at Villa Park was one of the highlights of 2019/20 and proved to be an afternoon that swung the title race in the Reds’ favour.

A more convincing victory this time around would be more ideal, though, both in terms of Liverpool showcasing their brilliance and also easing the supporters’ heart rates.


Team News

LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, September 20, 2020: Liverpool’s Thiago Alcantara, makes his debut as a substitute, during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by Propaganda)

Liverpool aren’t without fitness issues heading into the match, with several key players absent.

Thiago is missing after testing positive for coronavirus and the Spaniard won’t return to action until after the international break.

There is still no Joel Matip, while Kostas Tsimikas is out and Jordan Henderson is likely to be on the substitutes’ bench at best, as he recovers from a thigh issue.

There is every chance that Klopp could field the same starting lineup that beat Arsenal on Monday, such was the level of the performance.

Both Alisson and Joe Gomez showed signs of their best form and they should be joined by Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson in Liverpool’s back line.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Monday, September 28, 2020: Liverpool’s Fabio Henrique Tavares 'Fabinho' (L) challenges Arsenal's Alexandre Lacazette during the FA Premier League match between Liverpool FC and Arsenal FC at Anfield. The game was played behind closed doors due to the UK government’s social distancing laws during the Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic. (Pic by Propaganda)

Fabinho excelled back in midfield and will surely continue in that role, flanked by Naby Keita and Gini Wijnaldum in the absence of Thiago and Henderson.

Diogo Jota could be in line for his first league start after Sadio Mane joined Thiago on the sidelines after a positive coronavirus test on Friday.

Villa are without Tom Heaton, Bjorn Engels, Kortney Hause and Wesley, while goalkeeper Orjan Nyland could also be out after suffering a back injury in training.

Star man Jack Grealish has been passed fit and Ross Barkley could make his debut after joining on loan from Chelsea earlier in the week.


Last 5 away to Aston Villa (All Competitions)

Liverpool's Sadio Mane celebrates scoring his side's second goal of the game during the Premier League match at Villa Park, Birmingham. PA Photo. Nick Potts/PA Wire.

Lost 5-0 – December 2019 (Hourihane, Boyes OG, Kodjia x2, Wesley)
Won 2-1 – November 2019 (Trezeguet; Robertson, Mane)
Won 6-0 – February 2016 (Sturridge, Milner, Can, Origi, Clyne, Toure)
Won 2-0 – January 2015 (Borini, Lambert)
Won 1-0 – August 2013 (Sturridge)


Villa Park

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - Tuesday, March 1, 2016: A general view of Aston Villa's Villa Park stadium before the Premier League match against Everton. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Capacity: 42,749

* Game to be played behind closed doors.


Did You Know?

Mo Salah (Image: Eibner-Pressefoto/EXPA/Feichter via Images)

Salah is currently stuck on 99 league goals in English football, having drawn blanks against both Chelsea and Arsenal.

The Egyptian is in excellent form, though, and he will be hungry to bring up the 100 this weekend.

Ninety-seven of Salah’s goals have come in a Reds shirt – it has taken just 157 appearances – with the other two coming during a more muted spell at Chelsea.

Roger Hunt (144) and Jack Parkinson (153) are the fastest Liverpool players to score 100 goals, but if Salah can get three more in his next seven appearances he will take Robbie Fowler’s (165) place in third.

It is so easy to take the Reds’ No.11 for granted.



Aston Villa – Last five results (all competitions)

Lost 1-0 vs. Stoke
Won 3-0 vs. Fulham
Won 3-0 vs. Bristol City
Won 1-0 vs. Sheffield United
Won 3-1 vs. Burton

Liverpool – Last five results (all competitions)

Drew 0-0 vs. Arsenal (Arsenal won 5-4 on penalties)
Won 3-1 vs. Arsenal
Won 7-2 vs. Lincoln
Won 2-0 vs. Chelsea
Won 4-3 vs. Leeds


Klopp’s View

Speaking in his press conference on Friday, Klopp emphasised the importance of building on last season’s title win, not allowing other teams to catch up:

“If we want to attack the title, we have to improve because the others will improve.

“All teams got stronger with the signings they made and Villa are one of these. Other teams improved massively, so we have to improve so we can be in a similar position.

“It’s not to do with last year’s position, it’s just other teams will improve so you have to make big steps.”


TV & Liveblog Info

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - Tuesday, February 3, 2015: A television camera on the pitch before the FA Cup 4th Round Replay match between Manchester United and Cambridge United at Old Trafford. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Aston Villa vs. Liverpool is live in the UK on Sky Sports Main Event and Sky Sports Premier League, with coverage starting at 7pm (BST) and kickoff taking place at 7.15pm.

Chris Williams is in the hot-seat for This Is Anfield’s matchday liveblog, keeping you entertained and up to date from 6.30pm (BST).