Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Analysis, Prediction, Team News
Saturday 20th May 2023
As part of our weekend Premier League predictions, we take a look at Aston Villa’s trip to Liverpool. Both sides are pushing for Europe, will this be a high-octane affair? Free betting tips and more with our Liverpool vs Aston Villa prediction.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Preview
Liverpool come into their final home match of the season in exceptional form. Indeed, the North West club finally resemble the team that duelled it out with Man City for trophies in the previous four seasons. They have won all their last seven matches, scoring 20 and conceding seven. The game at Leicester on Monday night was 3-0 going on six or seven and looks to have doomed the Foxes to relegation. Salah registered three assists as beautiful finishes by Jones and Gakpo in the first half were joined by a gorgeous Alexander-Arnold free-kick 19 minutes from full-time.
At home, only one side has accumulated more points than Jurgen Klopp’s side (Man City). If Liverpool win this game, Man Utd must win their last two home games to push Liverpool into third place in the home form table. Indeed, Liverpool are just a point behind United (though having played a game more), so they’ll be hoping that Bournemouth can get something against United in the simultaneous kick-off to this at the Vitality Stadium. With Newcastle’s victory over Brighton, Liverpool need snookers. However, if they win this game and the final match at relegated Southampton, they have a good chance of making the top four.
Aston Villa travel to Merseyside just having stuttered after their long unbeaten run under Unai Emery. Indeed, the Birmingham club have only gained seven of the previous 15 points, with defeats to Man United and Wolves and a draw to Brentford being the blips. All three of these games were away, and Villa’s form on the road is a cause for concern – they’ve dropped points in four of the last six on their travels, though only six sides have accumulated more away points all season.
Villa’s 2-1 deserved win against Spurs last weekend (courtesy of goals by Ramsey and Luiz) was their sixth consecutive home win, so they’ll hope to finish the season well when facing Brighton at Villa Park next week – especially as their hopes of qualifying for Europa are very much still alive. Villa have lost their last four at Anfield, so the omens do not look good for them in this game.
Injuries and Suspensions
Might Not Play: Firmino, Nunez, Keita
Will Not Play: Thiago, Ramsay, Bajcetic
Might Not Play: Coutinho
Will Not Play: Steer
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Lineups (Predicted)
Liverpool (4-3-3): Alisson; Robertson, Van Dijk, Konate, Alexander-Arnold; Fabinho, Jones, Henderson; Diaz, Gakpo, Salah
Aston Villa (4-4-2 / 4-2-3-1): Martinez; Moreno, Mings, Konsa, Young; Ramsey, Luiz, Kamara, McGinn; Watkins, Buendia
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Analysis
Liverpool Will Attack Villa From The Start
Liverpool rank highly for average possession and passes completed this season, despite it being a generally disappointing campaign for them overall. However, as stated, they still can qualify for the Champions League or the Europa League. Therefore, we expect them to attack Villa hard from the start. Liverpool will look to dominate the ball and pin Villa back, passing and probing and trying to break down Villa’s defensive rearguard. When Liverpool lose the ball, Klopp’s men will activate their counter-press to try to win it back immediately. There will be little time on the ball for the Villa players.
Henderson will likely start alongside Fabinho in midfield to give Liverpool some solidity and keep the door closed at the back. Villa will be looking to counter, so it’s vital that these two and the central defenders close off the space and defend one-on-one at times to retain possession. Going the other way, Jones has recently proved that he is a massive threat when joining the attack – he is currently having the best spell of his Liverpool career. Alexander-Arnold and Robertson’s creativity and delivery will be crucial as ever, with the former’s new infield role providing him with more chances to supply the forwards.
Diaz, Salah, Gakpo, Jota and Nunez are all either fast, tricky dribblers or good at linking play (or both) and creating something from nothing. Suffice it to say that Liverpool will (as always) look to their forwards to provide the cutting edge through doing something different or conjuring up a moment of genius. Set pieces are also a weapon for Liverpool – they have height at the back and have scored many goals from corners and free kicks this season.
Villa Must Absorb Pressure And Counter
With Villa’s away form being much worse than their home form, it is clear what their game plan will be – they will look to be organised and close off spaces between the lines, frustrating Liverpool and trying to win the ball so they can hit the Merseysiders hard and fast on the counter. Martinez will likely have to make plenty of saves, and he, Mings, Konsa and the full-backs must be fearless on the ball when playing out. Liverpool will press them defensively and in midfield, and how well they cope with the pressure will be decisive. The defenders will likely have to make plenty of blocks and interceptions, and there may be some last-ditch defending.
In midfield, Luiz and Kamara must get through a mountain of work and will likely be up against it. However, if Villa can win the ball back, they can quickly release Watkins, Buendia and Bailey into attacking areas. The former is Villa’s star man, and his ability through his pace, dribbling and shooting in the left-hand channel could mean he has an exciting battle with Konate. Buendia is a very creative and inventive player, and it will be up to him to create something from nothing with his incisive passing.
Ramsey and McGinn are critical in this Villa team. Emery instructs them to come off the wing and play more as attacking midfielders who cross and pass. This tactic allows Villa to compress the space infield and gives more room to Moreno and Young in forward areas at full-back. Overall, Villa will look to find transitional opportunities to dribble and pass at pace and engineer shots on goal. Set pieces might also be a profitable avenue for them.
Liverpool are on such a good run of form right now, while Villa have been mediocre away from home for a while. Therefore, with Liverpool peaking right at the end of the season when European places are available, we anticipate that they will be very motivated and will come fast out of the blocks, looking to smother Villa, give them no time on the ball, and score a goal or two early.
Villa’s best chance is to be defensively resolute and attack on the counter when Liverpool are vulnerable due to committing men forward. Villa could get a goal in this game. However, we see Liverpool scoring two or three of their own, too. Liverpool have to keep the pressure on Newcastle and Man Utd, and we think they will.
Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Betting Tip – Liverpool Odds:
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