Aston Villa will be at home at Villa Park in Birmingham for the first time this English Premier League season when they take on Liverpool on Saturday August 24. Villa spent the first two games on the road in London and split them one each. Villa waltzed into the Emirates Stadium in the season opener last Saturday and shocked Arsenal by taking all three points in a 3-1 win. They then traveled to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday and dropped a close and controversial 2-1 decision.
Bookmaker Paddy Power has the current odds of an Aston Villa victory at 13/5 with a Liverpool win at 19/20 and a draw at 13/5.
Liverpool managed hang on against Stoke in their curtain raiser last Saturday and beat them 1-0. Daniel Sturridge scored the goal, but the hero was new goalkeeper Simon Mignolet as he saved a late penalty as well as the rebound. Of course, manager Brendan Rodgers is still trying to sort out the Luis Suarez mess as the Uruguayan international striker wants o leave, but it appears Liverpool is adamant that he won’t be sold. Either way, he’s suspended for the first several games of the season after earning a 10-game ban for biting Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic last campaign.
Christian Benteke has been on fire for Villa so far as the Belgian international striker has three goals in the first two matches, with one of them coming on a penalty kick and another coming on a penalty rebound after his initial spot kick against Arsenal was saved by the keeper. Liverpool will have to keep a close eye on Benteke while Villa will need to do the same with England international striker Sturridge. The Reds will also have to mark Englishman Gabriel Agbonlahor closely and Villa has to realize Liverpool’s English international skipper Steven Gerrard is always dangerous.
Liverpool has a problem scoring goals even though they take a lot of shots and create numerous chances every match. If it wasn’t for Mignolet they could have easily dropped two points to Stoke last weekend. They also need a solid effort from the back four as Villa will be brimming with confidence heading into this fixture. Defender Kolo Toure was brought in from Manchester City during the summer to replace the retired Jamie Carragher and he’ll need to have a good game. Also, Aly Cissoko is on loan for the season from Spanish club Valencia.
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is hoping to have Ciaran Clark back in the squad after leaving the match against Chelsea in the first half due to a head injury. Midfielder Chris Herd may also be ready to play after recovering from an injured calf. However, it looks like both defender Nathan Baker and winger Charles N’Zogbia will miss the game with injuries. For Liverpool, Uruguayan international Sebastian Coates will probably miss the majority of the season with a knee problem.
This should be an entertaining matchup and there’s a good chance Villa will score in their home debut. This means Liverpool will have to put at least two by goalkeeper Brad Guzan for a win, but a draw is more likely in this match.