Aston Villa are the visitors for the final home game of the season with the Reds looking to keep hopes of Champions League qualification alive, but it will be the end of an era in more ways than one.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa
Premier League (37) | Anfield
May 20, 2023 | 3pm (BST)
Liverpool have hit their best run of form this season and will be aiming for an eighth straight win when Unai Emery’s side visit on Saturday afternoon.
The Reds returned to Premier League action from the winter World Cup with a 3-1 Boxing Day win at Villa Park in the reverse fixture and will be hoping for similar in the final Anfield outing of 2022/23.
Here’s 10 things you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs. Aston Villa.
1. No Klopp on the sidelines
Jurgen Klopp will be absent from the dugout as he serves his one-match ban for the events against Tottenham last month.
The boss will be watching from the stands for the game itself, but will be able to on the pitch for the post-match ‘lap of thanks’ that will see Anfield serenade a departing quartet.
Roberto Firmino and James Milner will surely receive commemorative gifts from the club, like Divock Origi and Gini Wijnaldum did on their last game in 2020/21, will Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita too?
2. Si Senor and an emotional afternoon
There’s two things we can expect on Saturday: Si Senor on repeat, and some tears on the Kop as Firmino says farewell after eight years at the club.
Perhaps nobody quite represents this era more than Bobby and his energy, smile and personality. A true Liverpool legend.
Firmino was serenaded for 15 minutes during the 3-0 win at Leicester despite not being in the matchday squad and everyone at Anfield will be hoping he is able to make a cameo appearance from the bench on Saturday.
3. Seven in a row against Emery?
The Aston Villa boss has done a highly impressive job since taking over from Steven Gerrard in October, with his side now sitting comfortably in eighth spot.
Saturday will be his ninth game against Liverpool as a manger, the first of which coming in the Europa League final triumph with Sevilla back in 2016.
Since then, he has failed to get the better of the Reds with any of his teams and has lost his last six meetings against Jurgen Klopp.
4. No Nunez involved
After Darwin Nunez missed the trip to Leicester, Klopp confirmed that the Uruguayan would miss out this weekend as well.
The manager revealed Nunez “hasn’t trained” this week and he “will not be available” due to “inflammation of the tendon in his toe.”
That’s six different injuries that Nunez has encountered in his debut campaign at Anfield.
Elsewhere, Klopp confirmed that “the long-term injuries are still out but all the rest should be available.”
5. End of another era…
It has been a turbulent campaign for many reasons, but Liverpool’s home record has remained extremely solid.
A win on Saturday would secure a second-place finish in the Premier League‘s ‘home table’ ahead of Arsenal, with champions-elect Man City the only side to have picked up more points on their own turf.
Leeds are, somehow, the only team to have won at Anfield in the league this season.
With four players leaving, it will also be the end of another era, with the Anfield Road Stand roof being removed on Monday, meaning next time the Reds play at Anfield it will be in front of 61,000 – and the highest attendance at home since May 1977.
6. 10 in a row for Mo? And overtaking Gerrard?
In a season already littered with records, Mohamed Salah netted his 100th Anfield goal in the 1-0 win over Brentford.
The Egyptian’s winner saw him tie Gerrard’s total of 186 goals in all competitions and a goal on Saturday will lift him above the Reds icon into solo fifth on the club’s all-time goalscorers list.
It would also see Salah make it 10 consecutive home appearances in which he has managed to get on the scoresheet, as well as making it five seasons in six in which he has recorded 20 or more in the Premier League.
7. A new kit
The final home game of the season will see Liverpool will wear their new home kit for the 2023/24 season for the first time.
Following its launch earlier this month, fans will get to see the players show off the new kit in what will hopefully be a routine victory to close out the Anfield season.
It is not uncommon for the Reds to sport a new jersey ahead of the summer, but the side did not do so last season due to the potential of clinching the Premier League title on the final day.
8. Bobby is back
As already mentioned, the meeting with Aston Villa represents Firmino’s last chance for an Anfield farewell.
Liverpool still have on-field business to attend to in terms of trying to secure Champions League qualification, but fans will be hoping there is room for sentiment if the Brazilian is fit enough to feature.
In his press conference, Klopp confirmed that Firmino had trained, though he has not played since the 6-1 win at Leeds last month while nursing a muscle injury.
Fans will be hoping to see him out on the pitch at Anfield one last time before he sets off for a fresh challenge next season.
9. Brooks in the middle
In a week when Newcastle fans decided to be angry about the birthplace of the referee for their clash with Brighton, John Brooks is the man to take charge of our final home game of 2022/23.
Klopp apologised for his overzealous celebration in the face of Brooks while he was on fourth official duty in the dramatic 4-3 win over Tottenham last month.
Matthew Wilkes and James Mainwaring are the assistants, with the fourth official being, you guessed it, Newcastle fan Michael Oliver.
10. Follow the match with TIA!
UK viewers will not be able to (legally) watch the action live on their television screens this weekend due to the 3pm kick off, so why not join us for a biased take on proceedings instead?
Our very own matchday live blog will be available from 2.15pm (BST) to keep you up to date while events unfold at Anfield.
Up the Reds!