Aston Villa defender Aly Cissokho eager for Liverpool reunion

The ex-Liverpool left-back is currently preparing to face his old club at Villa Park on Sunday.

Aston Villa defender Aly Cissokho is aiming to get one over on his former club on Sunday afternoon when Remi Garde’s men host Liverpool in their second Premier League meeting of the season.

Cissokho, 28, spent the 2013-14 campaign on loan at Anfield from La Liga side Valencia, making 16 starts in 19 total appearances before returning to Spain ahead of securing a permanent move to Villa in August 2014.

The French left-back did not enjoy the best of times on Merseyside, as he struggled with injuries and failed to hold down a regular place in the side when fit, but he does still have fond memories of earning his Reds debut at Villa Park, no less.

He was a second-half substitute for the match as Liverpool ran out 1-0 winners thanks to Daniel Sturridge’s 20th-minute strike, and the one-time capped international recalls coming away impressed by the boisterous atmosphere created by the home fans on the day.

Speaking to Villa’s official website, Cissokho said: “Playing here for my debut in English football was a good memory. I remember I was surprised about the stadium, the fans and the atmosphere. I was like a child!

“I'd played in big games before but it is always special to play in Villa Park. The stadium this coming week is going to be packed and it is always great to play in that environment.”

The weekend’s game will also mark the return of former Holte End hero Christian Benteke to Villa Park, although it remains to be seen whether he will feature on the afternoon.

The Belgian striker has struggled to replicate his Villa form for Liverpool since his £32.5 million summer move, netting just six times in 20 Premier League appearances, and is now in the midst of an 11-game goal drought.

He has not started the club’s past five top-flight matches as a result, but Cissokho is still more than wary of the potential threat his former teammate will pose if he gets the opportunity to play on Sunday.

“For Christian it is going to be special because he had good games here,” Cissokho added to “He scored a lot of goals and it is going to be an important moment for him, but I hope he is not going to score and we are going to stop him.

“We know he is a good striker but it's not just about him - they have good players throughout their squad. I am sure he is going to be very excited to play against us so we will try our best to keep him out.”

Ominously for Villa, players netting against their old club is a strangely frequent phenomena in football, but Cissokho is hoping that it is him rather than Benteke who gets on the scoresheet this weekend.

The ex-Lyon man has been given license to get forward by manager Remi Garde since being recalled early from his season-long loan spell at Porto last month, and he now has his sights set on grabbing his first Villa goal.

“I try every game to go forward,” he told AVTV. “Of course, my first intention is to defend and make sure we get the clean sheet, but sometimes I like to get forward and maybe over the next few games I hope to score – why not?”

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