LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA: PREDICTED LINEUP
Liverpool host an emotional homecoming tomorrow as they welcome Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa to Anfield. The Reds are coming off the back of a 2-1 win at the San Siro, whilst Villa defeated Leicester City by the same scoreline last time out. We take a look at how Jürgen Klopp could line his team up for the encounter.
You can find a preview of the game here:
Attention turns back to the Premier League after successful completion of the Champions League group stages. Gerrard’s Villa side pose a genuine threat and come into this in good form. It is expected to be a strong Liverpool lineup after several stars were rested for the midweek trip to Italy.
Virgil Van Dijk, Thiago Alcantara, Jordan Henderson and Diogo Jota all missed the trip to Italy and should return to the XI if fit. The Portuguese international has struggled with a muscle injury since the game away to his former employers, Wolves last week.
Alisson Becker should continue in goal after another night captaining the team. He’s leading the way in the Golden Glove race this term and will want to keep his run of clean sheets going. Ahead of him, Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andy Robertson should also return after both got a watching brief in midweek.
Trent has just been named Liverpool Player of the month and Premier League Player of the month for November, and coming up against the man he idolised growing up, he will want to be at his devastating best. Joel Matip and Van Dijk should reprise their partnership in the heart of defence.
Ibrahima Konaté was impressive in the Milan win and should make do with a place on the bench here alongside Joe Gomez, who made his return at the San Siro. Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas also performed admirably last time out but will have to make do with a place amongst the substitutes.
In the middle of the pitch, Jürgen Klopp has named the same trio in each of the last three league matches. All three are expected to line up again here, with it being widely accepted as the Reds’ first choice midfield. Fabinho and Thiago will continue their promising partnership, ably supported by skipper Jordan Henderson.
Oxlade-Chamberlain is in good shape at the minute and could feel hard done by not to start, but the triangle between Trent, Hendo and Mo is just too good to ignore. They’ve built up a great understanding and will be needed to be at their very best against a stubborn Villa side.
James Milner and Naby Keita, who also made his return on Tuesday, will provide further options off the bench. After a few weeks of not having any room to manouvre due to injuries to midfielders, the manager can now count on as many as seven different options.
Upfront, Mané and Salah will go again after getting about an hour each on Tuesday. Diogo Jota is a doubt however, having not trained since the Wolves victory. It is unclear if he was able to train today. If he managed it then he’ll at least make the bench. If not, he’ll be ruled out entirely.
In his absence, Divock Origi is likely to step into the central role. He’s hit form at exactly the right moment, scoring in back to back games for the first time since 2019. He’s netted 5 goals in just 10 appearances this term and will relish another chance to lead the line from the start.
Roberto Firmino has resumed team training after a while out with a hamstring injury. He is unlikely to be ready for tomorrow but it’s a big boost ahead of the non-stop nature of fixtures throughout this Christmas period. Nat Phillips has been ruled out till the new year with a fractured cheek bone unfortunately.
Alisson, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson, Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Salah, Origi, Mané.
Subs: Kelleher, Williams, Konaté, Gomez, Tsimikas, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Minamino.