This weekend, Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool should be able to get closer to one step closer to winning a trophy as they meet Aston Villa in the FA Cup semifinals in Wembley. Even though the team looks like it will not be able to make it into the top four by the end of the season, winning Rodgers’ first trophy as the Liverpool manager would boost the morale of both the club and its fans.
They are facing an Aston Villa team that has struggled significantly to score at times this season and that should encourage the Liverpool players to try and get a goal right from the start. Rodgers has once again switched his preferred formation from a 3-4-2-1 to a more traditional 4-3-3 and it looks like he will be sticking with that for the time being.
Simon Mignolet continued his good run of form despite his defense failing on multiple occasions. His acrobatic save off a Ayoze Perez header prevented Newcastle from getting back into the match. Even though he will be facing a weak Villa attack, he should keep track of their leading scorer, Christian Benteke at all times.
Glen Johnson has made a return to the lineup ever since the formation change and if Rodgers decides to stay with it, the maligned player keep on starting. This weekend, he benefits by not having to face a skilled offensive player.
The return of Martin Skrtel should help solidify the back line. Emre Can should benefit since he will be playing alongside the experienced Skrtel rather than the easily flustered Dejan Lovren who almost gave away a penalty in the last match.
Alberto Moreno was able to get forward often against Newcastle because the team was able to dominate possession. He should be able to do much of the same this Sunday but he should still make sure that he does not let any of the Villa attackers get behind him.
The return of Lucas Leiva into the lineup has allowed both Jordan Henderson and Joe Allen to have more freedom to attack. The Brazilian enforcer has brought back a toughness to the midfield that the energetic Henderson and Allen do not possess. Allen has benefitted tremendously, he is able to influence the game much more and he even scored his first goal at Anfield last Monday.
Adam Lallana may return to the lineup as a result of Sturridge’s injury. The English international has been more of a utility player rather than a consistent starter and he should use every opportunity to get into Rodgers’ good graces. He has played well with both Sterling and Coutinho when given a chance and their consistent movement should bother the Villa defense.
Raheem Sterling has been in the news often the past few weeks but he showed against Newcastle that he is not letting that distract him. If he works together within the team’s offensive strategy, he will not have to feel like he has to carry the team on his back. His speed and dribbling skills make him a menace for any defense to deal with, however, he does miss some scoring opportunities because of his selfishness.
Philippe Coutinho constantly bothered the Newcastle defense and he was arguably the best player on the field. His ability to find the holes in the opponent’s defense opens up so many opportunities for both himself and his teammates.
Via – Lineup Builder