Liverpool and Aston Villa are set to square off at 9:30 AM Pacific on Saturday September 13, 2014, at Anfield in Liverpool. Following the International break, both teams are looking to keep up their good form that has them currently sitting at the top of the table. Liverpool are ready to show that they are a title contender, while Villa wants to prove that they do belong.
Coming off an impressive win before the break against Tottenham Hotspur, Brandan Rodger’s men will surely have their eyes on two wins in a row and a top 3 spot. During the break though, front man Daniel Sturridge picked up an injury that will see him out this weekend. With his absence, Liverpool will be relying on Mario Balotelli to carry the load. Balotelli has yet to hit the back of the net for the Reds, but will surely score his first goal back in Premier League soon, if not this weekend, as he looked good in his first appearance for his new club.
This leaves the opportunity for a fellow teammate to have his chance to step up and show they deserve to be at the club. Rickie Lambert looks to be the most obvious replacement, as he has yet to start, and is a proven striker in the league. Fabio Borini is an interesting candidate, as the Italian could pair with fellow countryman, and make his first impact of the new season. Lastly, Adam Lallana could be given a chance at the forward role and although that is not where he is used to playing, he will look to make the most of the opportunity if it comes, especially against his old club.
In the back, Liverpool are finally looking stable, as the pairing of Lovern and Sakho looks like the real deal. As far as depth goes, with the recent departure of Daniel Agger, the centre backs list is a short one, so any injury would prove very costly. For this weekend against Villa though, the new pair should fair very well, especially without having to deal with the ever dangerous Benteke.
Aston Villa on the other hand, find themselves currently at third in the table, and could stay there with an impressive result against Liverpool. They have found two wins out of three to start, although all were against lesser competition, definitely none to the likes of Liverpool. Like mentioned earlier, Christian Benteke being out still is a huge blow to the attacking dynamic of the team, and will likely prove costly until he can return. Villa have been without him this far through the campaign though and it hasn’t looked to affect them at all, so they will be looking to keep that up.
The defense of Villa has looked impressive so far, as the American Brad Guzan has dealt two shutouts already in this short season. Even at his age, he is proving that he is a key component to Villa winning. On the flank, left-back Aly Cissokho will be hopeful to make a positive impact as he will be familiar with Liverpool, recently returning from a year long loan spell with the Reds. The back five for Villa will be up for a big challenge this Saturday against Balotelli and co., so they will need to continue to bring their A-game.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Prediction
This will be a big win for Liverpool, who look to show Villa what the top of the table really is like. They have been riding high with two wins and a draw, but the Reds will be trying their best to send them back down to earth. I’m predicting a 3-1 win, with Balotelli scoring a brace. I think he and fans alike are eager for him to get going, and with Sturridge out, will be a big part of Liverpool’s plans.
Prediction – Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa
Liverpool vs Aston Villa TV Schedule
The match will be televised on NBC (USA), and Sky Sports 1 (UK).