Liverpool – Aston Villa preview: Liverpool will welcome Aston Villa to Anfield on Sunday with a more urgent perspective on its place in history (Watch live at 11:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN or online via NBCSports.com).
Liverpool hasn’t gotten its usual return on results for some time. Dating back to the 3-0 loss at Watford on Feb. 29, the Reds are 2W-1D-4L from their last seven outings across all competitions.
In an odd coincidence, Liverpool won the Premier League during this stretch.
Take the start of that run back another week to the first leg against Atletico Madrid and the Reds have won just three times from nine, beating Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, and West Ham.
Alanis Morrissette screwed up the concept of irony for me forever, but I think that applies here somehow? Maybe?
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Of course all Aston Villa will see is one of the best teams in the world in the first match at Anfield since clinching a first English crown in 30 years and, oh yeah, their last outing was a 4-0 blowout loss to their rivals Man City.
The Villans have 27 points, one point back of 17th place Watford and three fewer than West Ham.
Liverpool’s Joel Matip is out for the season and Dejan Lovren won’t play Sunday. Xherdan Shaqiri makes the bench and there are starts for Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Divock Origi.
As for Villa, Matt Targett misses out through injury, as do Bjorn Engels, Wesley, and Tom Heaton. Frederic Guilbert is available on the bench after injury, while American prospect Indiana Vassilev is also a sub.
🔴 TEAM NEWS 🔴
— Liverpool FC (Premier League Champions 🏆) (@LFC) July 5, 2020
This is how Aston Villa line up at Anfield this afternoon. 🟣
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) July 5, 2020
What they’re saying
Jurgen Klopp on not taking a club job post-Liverpool: “When it is time, hopefully I am still healthy and I can say … ‘great, I loved it but now I would like to watch other people doing it. So, I hope I find this inner mood to say … ‘see you later, I wish you all the best, best of luck, love you all but don’t call because of any football matters.’ That’s the plan.”
Dean Smith on Villa taking inspiration from other upsets: “You saw Brighton win in the last minute against Arsenal and West Ham win in the last minute against Chelsea. It didn’t escape me that West Ham’s stats were pretty similar to ours against Chelsea but they managed to stick the ball in the net a couple of times. We can take great heart from that, knowing you can go and beat these big teams.”
Odds and ends
Villa are tied with Southampton for the second-biggest underdog status in Matchweek 33 (+800). A Liverpool win stands at -315, according to DraftKings.
Villa took Liverpool to the limit at Anfield earlier this year, taking a Trezeguet-inspired lead into the 88th minute only to see Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane score in the final throes of the match.
The Reds record in those nine referenced matches doesn’t match their performances. Liverpool comes out of this one with a 3-1 win.Follow @NicholasMendola