Aston Villa – Liverpool: Two of just four teams with a perfect league record meet Sunday when Aston Villa welcomes Liverpool to Villa Park (Watch live at 2:15 pm ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
The reigning Premier League champs have fended off a tough early season slate to begin 3-0 with wins over Leeds, Chelsea, and Arsenal.
Villa’s wins are a far cry from their relegation-worried 2019-20 season and feature a pair of clean sheets against Fulham and Sheffield United.
Both sides lost midweek in the League Cup.
It’s been a long time since Jack Grealish last saw Liverpool at Villa Park but the memory is a good one; Grealish set up a Fabian Delph winner in the 2014-15 FA Cup semifinal.
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Team news: Aston Villa – Liverpool (INJURY REPORT)
The hosts throw Chelsea loanee Ross Barkley right into the fire against his childhood Merseyside rivals. Villa’s injury list includes Bjorn Engels (thigh), Tom Heaton (knee), Wesley (knee), and Ahmed Elmohamady (thigh).
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) October 4, 2020
Liverpool has Jordan Henderson working back to full fitness after a thigh injury. Out for the Villa trip are Joel Matip (undisclosed), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (knee), Alisson (shoulder) and Mane (COVID-19).
📋 Tonight's team news…
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) October 4, 2020
What they’re saying: Aston Villa – Liverpool
Villa boss Dean Smith on meeting the champs: “Everybody is beatable on the day. We’ve just got beaten by a Championship team, so that proves everybody is beatable. Their cumulative record over the past two seasons is incredible with the points tally that they’ve got. Them and Manchester City have been way out ahead of everybody over the last two years. It will be a really tough game and they’ve had a good start to the season, but there’s no reason why we can’t feel that we’re more athletic and robust than the team that faced them last season.”
Jurgen Klopp on Liverpool’s Champions League draw: “All the teams who are in the draw, they are there for one reason – they are really good teams. Atalanta were the surprise team in Italy and have settled in that position, Ajax is famous for sensational youth development and football. It’s a very interesting group, so let’s see. I can’t wait to analyse the opponents next week. It’s an interesting one, all different ways. So let’s make sure that we are ready for them.”
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Liverpool is -325 to claim all three points at Villa Park and the hosts are the biggest underdogs of the match week at +850. A draw nets the wagerer +425.
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Aston Villa – Liverpool prediction
Liverpool rested a great deal of its stars in the League Cup loss to Arsenal and Dean Smith did the same when the Villans lost to Stoke City. Those opponents also say something about expectations for Sunday. Villa will hope Emiliano Martinez and Tyrone Mings have big days at the back but Liverpool has so so much firepower. A closer than expected 2-1 to the Reds.
How to watch Aston Villa – Liverpool stream, start time
Kickoff time: 2:15 pm ET Sunday
TV Channel: NBCSN