Mark Lawrenson predicts Aston Villa v Liverpool FA Cup semi-final result

Mark Lawrenson looks ahead to this afternoon's FA Cup semi-final.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has written in his weekly prediction column for the BBC that Liverpool will beat Aston Villa 1-0 in today's FA Cup semi-final.

Villa's 2-0 win over West Bromwich Albion in the last round has set up a semi-final clash, with Tim Sherwood just one game away from a final already.

After last week's 1-0 away win at Sherwood's former club Tottenham, spirits are high in the Villa camp ahead of a crucial clash at Wembley Stadium - with a place in Europe next season potentially in Villa's hands if they beat Liverpool this afternoon.

Their opponents Liverpool needed a replay against Blackburn to make it to the semi-finals, but could set up a heavyweight matchup in the final with Arsenal booking their place after a win over Reading on Saturday.

In Steven Gerrard's final few weeks as a Liverpool player, the Reds will want to see their inspirational skipper go out on a high by winning the FA Cup once again, and many will have Brendan Rodgers' men down as hot favourites to come out victorious.

That's something that ex-Liverpool defender Lawrenson agrees with, writing in his weekly prediction column for the BBC that Liverpool are likely to come out on top despite Villa's recent form under Sherwood, also noting that in-form striker Christian Benteke will be Villa's key man.

"Aston Villa have picked up since Tim Sherwood took charge in February and their win at Tottenham last weekend was a great result for Villa and him personally," said Lawrenson. "With five goals in his last three Villa games, Christian Benteke's form is a worry for Liverpool but they will pose a threat too."

"Whoever plays for them, I feel the Reds will do more damage with their pace through the middle and up front. It will be a close game but I have the sneaking suspicion with Liverpool that they have this belief they are going to get to the final, and that kind of confidence is a big factor going into games like this," he added.

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