Liverpool v Aston Villa - Match Preview, Stats & Team News

To be played on Saturday 18th January 2014 at 17:30. Venue: Anfield, Liverpool.

Odds: Liverpool 1/4, Draw 6/1, Aston Villa 14/1

Last season: 1-3

Preview & injury news

Anfield is where Liverpool have been scoring at will, especially since the return of Luis Suarez earlier on in the season, as the Uruguayan has scored at least one goal in every home league game he has played during this campaign. The Reds are currently averaging two points per game in the league at the moment after their 5-3 win at Stoke City kept them in the top four with Everton and Tottenham in pursuit - whilst the Reds are six points off the top of the table. 

For Villa, this is a difficult period for them. After managing to pick up four points from two games after a losing streak in the league they've had back-to-back defeats at Villa Park which may lead you to believe they are glad they have an away game, and at a ground where they unexpectedly won handsomely last season. Paul Lambert's men currently sit in 11th place five points above the relegation zone. 

On the injury front, Liverpool still have some well-known names on the sidelines as they are starting to get players back from the treatment room. Mamadou Sakho returned to training just before the Stoke City match so the defender should be in contention for a starting place this weekend after a hamstring problem, whilst Joe Allen is available after an adductor injury.  

For Villa, Nathan Baker suffered concussion in Monday night's defeat to Arsenal at Villa Park meaning he is unlikely to play any part at Anfield whilst Libor Kozak, Jores Okore and Charles N'Zogbia continue their recovery from fairly long-term injuries. Joe Bennett could be available for selection after a back problem whilst Chris Herd could be available again at the end of the month.

Key stats

Luis Suarez is Liverpool's top scorer in the league this season with 22 goals.

Christian Benteke is Aston Villa's top scorer in the league this season with five goals.

Liverpool had 49% possession in their last league match, a 5-3 win away against Stoke City.

Aston Villa had 34% possession in their last league match, a 2-1 defeat at home to Arsenal. 

5 players to watch

Mamadou Sakho - His return from injury has come at a very good time for Liverpool as they face a striker who bullied them last season, and potentially another forward with a lot of presence. Sakho will relish the challenge and give the back line some much needed balance.

Grant Holt - Aston Villa's new loan signing from Wigan may get the opportunity to impress at Anfield. His presence could be something which Paul Lambert may think can trouble Liverpool as they look to repeat last season's success.

Luis Suarez - The Uruguayan has scored in every league appearance he has made at Anfield during this campaign and there will be few betting against him adding to his tally of 22 goals so far this season. 

Ron Vlaar - The Villa skipper returned to the heart of their defence against Arsenal and he has got one massive job trying to lead his back line against a pair of strikers that have notched up 32 league goals between them when they have missed a combined total of 14 games. A commanding performance from their captain will be just what the visitors need. 

Daniel Sturridge - Sturridge made his return from injury in the best way possible at Stoke by setting up one and scoring another. It hardly seems likely he will be on the bench for this game after his crucial cameo at the Britannia Stadium as he and Suarez will no doubt strike up their lethal combination from the start this weekend.

Earlier on in the season

Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool, August 2013

Liverpool made it two games and two 1-0 wins courtesy of another strike from Daniel Sturridge midway through the first half after he rounded Brad Guzan following a Jose Enrique ball into the Villa penalty area. Villa had a couple of chances to get on terms but they were limited by a solid Liverpool defence that afternoon to leave the home side empty handed.

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