Rock-bottom Aston Villa will be desperate to build upon last weekend’s rare victory as they face Liverpool this Sunday afternoon looking to continue their great Premier League escape.
Remi Garde’s men, who still lie eight points adrift of safety with only 13 fixtures remaining in the 2015-16 season, fought off fellow relegation rivals Norwich City to give their fans another glimmer of hope come May.
Meanwhile the visiting Reds; who currently occupy ninth spot in the standings, still six points adrift of Manchester United in fifth place, will be looking to bounce back immediately after being disappointingly knocked out of the FA Cup in the dying embers of their encounter at West Ham United in midweek.
Jurgen Klopp’s men will be encouraged by the fact that the home side have only defeated Liverpool once in the last 17 league meetings between the two clubs, which was back in May 2011.
Plus; the visitors have won 25 Premier League games versus Villa, more than any other club in the English top-flight.
However Villa have been marginally improving of late; losing just once in their last five league outings, keeping clean sheets in three of them. That takes the Villans total points collected to eight points from their last five games, the exact same tally they picked up during the opening 20 fixtures of the campaign.
Meanwhile added to their FA Cup knockout; Liverpool have struggled in the league lately, winning just once in their last six meetings. They have conceded 14 goals during this period and failed to score in half of those games.
The likes of Brazil international Roberto Firmino have kept the Reds afloat with his fine form in front goal, with the £29m summer signing bagging five goals in his last five league appearances.
And lastly; Klopp’s Reds are yet to lose a league game in which they have led, whereas Garde’s Villa are yet to win from a losing position. Interesting.
The home side will be without midfielder Jack Grealish after he twisted his ankle in training this week.
Fellow midfielder Carlos Sanchez and striker Rudy Gestede face late fitness tests after their respective hamstring problems, meanwhile right-back Alan Hutton returns to the frame. Villa’s Jordan Ayew remains suspended.
Liverpool boss Klopp could welcome back attacking trio Daniel Sturridge, Divock Origi and Philippe Coutinho, who all featured for the club in their FA Cup defeat at West Ham.
Centre-half Steven Caulker is also fit having recovered from a back problem, but the game will come too soon for Joe Allen (Hamstring).
League Positions: Aston Villa – 20th (16 pts); Liverpool – 9th (35 pts)
Previous Meeting: Liverpool 3-2 Aston Villa – September 26, 2015
League Form: Aston Villa – LWDDLW; Liverpool – LDLWLD
Key Players: Aston Villa – Carles Gil; Liverpool – Roberto Firmino
Shoot Says: Aston Villa 1-1 Liverpool