Liverpool vs Aston Villa promises to be a brilliant and emotional clash at Anfield on Saturday (watch live, 10am ET on USA Network and online via NBCSports.com) as Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard returns home.
Jurgen Klopp, his players, staff and Liverpool fans will give Gerrard a heroes welcome, as the legendary Liverpool midfielder is beloved at Anfield after captaining the Reds to UEFA Champions League glory, among plenty of other trophies, as one of their greatest-ever players. On the pitch, Liverpool are the red-hot favorites to win this game as Klopp continues to rotate his squad expertly and Liverpool sit in second place in the table, one point behind leaders Manchester City. Sadio Mane, Diogo Jota and Mohamed Salah are all in great form, while the likes of Divock Origi, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Thiago Alcantara continue to contribute when given opportunities. Origi has scored a dramatic late winner against Wolves last time out and grabbed the winner at AC Milan in midweek as Liverpool finished their UEFA Champions League group stage campaign with six wins out of six.
Villa are in fine form too, as Gerrard has steered the Midlands club to three wins from his first four games in charge. Gerrard has added an extra confidence and defensive structure to Villa’s play, as John McGinn, Emiliano Martinez and Tyrone Mings have been exceptional throughout the spine of the team in recent weeks. Gerrard’s character on the sidelines is very similar to when he was a player and that seems to have inspired this talented Villa side who now sit 10th in the table after a fine run. As for Gerrard, even though he insists he hasn’t been thinking about his return to Anfield, there’s no doubting it will be an emotional occasion for the boyhood Liverpool fan who lived his dream to captain them, lead them to trophies and become a hero. Next up: Gerrard to become Liverpool manager, as many believe he will replace Klopp in a few years’ time. Let’s see how this audition goes.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Liverpool vs Aston Villa.
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Liverpool team news, injuries, lineup options
Klopp was able to rest plenty of players for Liverpool’s UEFA Champions League win at AC Milan in midweek, as their injury issues have eased. Curtis Jones and Roberto Firmino are still out with respective eye and hamstring injuries. Harvey Elliott remains out long-term but is stepping up his return from a dislocated ankle. Liverpool will almost be at full-strength.
🔴 𝑻𝑬𝑨𝑴 𝑵𝑬𝑾𝑺 🔴
This is how we line up to face @AVFCOfficial this afternoon at Anfield!
Divock Origi misses out with a sore knee.
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) December 11, 2021
Aston Villa team news, injuries, lineup options
Bertrand Traore is working his way back to full fitness after a thigh injury, while Danny Ings could return from a thigh injury and Matt Targett should be okay after suffering a head knock. Leon Bailey is out for several weeks after suffering a thigh injury, which is a big blow. Ollie Watkins, Ashley Young, Emiliano Buendia and Anwar El Ghazi are likely to lead Villa’s attacking options.
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) December 11, 2021
Odds and ends (full odds provided by our partner, PointsBet)
Liverpool are massive favorites to win at -455, while Aston Villa are huge underdogs at +1000 to win. The draw is +550.
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Liverpool will likely come flying out of the traps in the first half and it will be tough for Villa to keep them at bay. Look for Villa to make their mark in the second half, but Klopp will get the better of Gerrard. This time. Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa.
How to watch Liverpool vs Aston Villa live, stream and start time
Kick off: 10am ET, Saturday
TV Channel: USA Network
Online: Stream via NBCSports.com