Mark Lawrenson offers verdict on Aston Villa and Liverpool, predicts today's result

Mark Lawrenson believes Liverpool will beat Aston Villa 2-0 this afternoon.

Pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Liverpool will beat Aston Villa 2-0 at Villa Park this afternoon.

Villa head into the game sitting eight points adrift of safety, but last week's 2-0 win over Norwich City has given fans a glimmer of hope that they could mount a stunning recovery.

Today, Remi Garde's men take on Liverpool at Villa Park, and after eight points in the last five games, this game is far from a foregone conclusion.

Liverpool's away form of late has been dreadful, after recent away defeats to Watford, West Ham and Leicester City in the Premier League, whilst they also lost 2-1 away to West Ham in the FA Cup on Tuesday evening.

Jurgen Klopp's men have shown flashes of brilliance without managing to put a consistent run of results together, meaning they will have to work hard for a win today against a slowly-improving Villa side.

Now, pundit Mark Lawrenson has told BBC Sport that he thinks Villa are still going down despite that win over Norwich City, giving a verdict that many fans won't be happy with, no matter how predictable their relegation has been this season.

Lawrenson also offered his opinion on Liverpool, suggesting that without Daniel Sturridge, the Reds don't have a top class striker, with Christian Benteke still struggling since his move from Aston Villa last summer.

"Aston Villa beat Norwich last time out, but I think that said more about Norwich than Villa's survival prospects," said Lawrenson. "Liverpool went out of the FA Cup on Tuesday but I was heartened by their performance and the way they played through midfield."

"The only problem was that, until Daniel Sturridge came on after an hour, the Reds did not have a striker who looked like he was going to score because Christian Benteke was struggling. In a team who play to his strengths, like Villa did, he will be a success but it is not working for him at the moment. Sturridge looked sharp when he came off the bench and I would be inclined to start with him on Sunday. If he is fit, what is the point of holding him back?" he added.

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