Liverpool host Aston Villa tomorrow for the final home game of the season. The match has been overshadowed by the fact that the Kop will be saying farewell to a quartet of players, but make no mistake, 3 points will be crucial in keeping the pressure on Manchester United in the race for fourth place. Here’s the match preview.

The Reds were at their ruthless best last time out as they plunged Leicester City closer to the drop by romping to a 3-0 victory at the King Power Stadium. A Curtis Jones first half brace was added to by a sublime Alexander-Arnold free kick in the second half.

That took the unbeaten run to 9 matches, with Klopp’s men stringing together 7 straight wins for the first time since a ten game winning streak from January to April last year. That particular run reignited fading title hopes, with the Reds pushing Manchester City to the very last day.

This seasons’s run has ignited the club’s European hopes. Just two months ago, the club was staring at the very real possibility of missing out on Europe altogether (or even worse, getting stuck in the Conference League). Victory on Monday night clinched a Europa league ticket, with the Reds guaranteed to finish no lower than 6th.

With only two games remaining, Jürgen Klopp’s men still have a slim chance of sneaking into the Champions League qualification spots. The Reds are just a point off rivals United in 4th, although the Red Devils have a game in hand.

It is imperative that the winning run is extended against Villa tomorrow, but the Villans will be no pushovers. Ever since Unai Emery took over from Steven Gerrard, Villa have been on a mightily impressive run themselves.

The Spaniard has taken charge of 23 league games, winning 14 and drawing 3. A tally of 45 points is some going, considering the Villans were hovering worryingly close to the drop zone when the former Liverpool skipper was sacked.

Extrapolating their points tally under Emery over a whole season would see them finish on 74 points (enough to secure a top four place this season and in each of the last four campaigns). The former Arsenal boss has made no secret of his desire to propel Villa to Europe.

They currently sit 8th, level on points with Spurs but with an inferior goal difference keeping them out of the Conference League spot. It’s a straight shoot out between Villa and Spurs for 7th (although Brentford also hold an outside chance, being 4 points adrift).

Liverpool did get the win over Emery’s side on Boxing Day but it was a hard fought encounter. Salah and Van Dijk handed the side a two goal lead before Watkins halved the deficit on the hour mark. It was a close run thing after that, till Stefan Bajcetic sealed the victory with a late strike.

It promises to be a similarly tight game tomorrow. Villa come into this clash full of confidence having beaten Spurs last week. They have however failed to win any of their last three away matches. It helps that the Reds have the beating of Villa in recent times.

Since that crazy 7-2 defeat at Villa Park in 2020, Liverpool have beaten the Midlands club in each of their last five meetings across all competitions, with Jürgen Klopp boasting a 100% win rate in home matches against Villa.

Team News

Roberto Firmino has joined training and should be fit for what would no doubt be an emotional farewell. Darwin Nunez missed the trip to Leicester with a toe injury and will be assessed before tomorrow.

For Villa, the only absentee is former Red Phillipe Coutinho. The Brazilian picked up a muscle injury in training last week and is not expected to be back before the season ends.



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