It is always so hard to predict the early games of any season – new players getting used to their surroundings, some not quite match fit, while some teams are more prepared than others for the start of the season. And given the unpredictable form of these two sides last year who knows what will happen.
One thing we do know is the two managers Paul Labert and Brendan Rogers have a lot to prove. Lambert took a huge gamble last year when he ditched his experienced players and gambled with the clubs untested youngsters. The plan nearly back fired spectacularly, and many believe if it hadn't been for the form of Christian Benteke, Villa would have been relegated. Thankfully for Villa fans, Lambert convinced Benteke to stay at the club this season, and the young man from Belgium has already scored 3 goals.
Rogers, on the other hand, after suffering the worst start to a campaign last season (with 5 straight loses) has a point to prove. Liverpool’s fiercest rivals Everton finished above them in the table last season, a complete no-no if you are a Liverpool supporter, so this year Rogers has to get it right. It appears he is already heading in the right direction with an impressive opening day victory against Stoke last weekend…but that was Stoke, there will be much sterner challenges to come in the months ahead.
Two sides with a point to prove should make for an interesting game.
Venue: Villa Park, Saturday August 24th
Last season’s result: Aston Villa 1 Liverpool 2
Aston Villa guide: WL
Liverpool form guide: W
Aston Villa leading scorer: Benteke - 3
Liverpool leading scorer: Sturridge - 1
Possible team line-ups:
Aston Villa 4-3-3: Guzan, Vlaar, Clark, Lowton, Luna, El Ahmadi, Delph, Westwood, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Aston Villa injuries: Sylla (ankle, August), N’Zogbia (unknown)
Manager: Paul Lambert
Liverpool 4-5-1: Mignolet, Toure, Agger, Enrique, Johnson, Gerrard, Lucas, Coutinho, Aspas, Henderson, Sturridge
Liverpool injuries: Caotes (knee, Mar)
Manager: Brendan Rogers
What to look out for:
In their opening two games Villa have caught the eye with a combination of a tightened defense, relentless effort in midfield and effective attacking contributions with the speed of Gabriel Agbonlahor and willingness of Andreas Weimann around the might of Christian Benteke. They were rightly aggrieved not to add to their points total at Chelsea in midweek, and Lambert will push his team to carry that form into their first home game against Liverpool. (source:Guardiannews.com)
Prediction: Aston Villa 2 Liverpool 2