No league win in over a month, stuck in the bottom half and requiring penalties to get past League Two Carlisle; it is fair to say that Liverpool have had a far from impressive start to the season.
Under-pressure manager Brendan Rodgers has had to answer questions regarding the likes of Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp replacing him this week, and his mood will not have been improved by injuries to Roberto Firmino, Dejan Lovren and Christian Benteke – the Belgian misses the visit of his former club with a hamstring injury.
Benteke’s absence comes when the Anfield side desperately need goals; only Newcastle have scored less than Liverpool’s total of four so far this season, and the onus will now be on Danny Ings – who has scored in the last two games – to step up to the plate.
Villa have a good recent record at Anfield – they have not lost there since 2010 and claimed a 1-0 victory there last September thanks to a Gabby Agbonlahor goal.
The visitors got a much-needed confidence boost in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday with a close-fought 1-0 win over neighbours Birmingham, but Tim Sherwood’s side have not won in the league since the opening day and sit just one place above the drop zone.
Midfielder Idrissa Gueye is back in full training and is in contention to play, whilst Adama Traore could also return. Agbonlahor is a major doubt after picking up a calf injury against Birmingham.
League Position: Liverpool – 13th, 8pts; Aston Villa – 17th, 4pts
Last Meeting: Aston Villa 2-1 Liverpool (April 19, 2015)
Form: Liverpool – WWDLLD; Aston Villa – WLLDLL
Key Men: Liverpool – Philippe Coutinho; Aston Villa – Jack Grealish
Shoot Says: Liverpool 1-0 Aston Villa