Liverpool travel to Villa Park for a 1.35pm kick off tomorrow (Sunday 18th March 2007) and the reds will be looking for three vital points after Arsenal moved ahead us to 3rd in mid-week.
Crouch definitely won’t take part after having an operation on his broken nose, this allows Fowler back in to the squad for the first time in 2 games. Arbeola, who has fitted in to the new Liverpool side extremely well so far, will be pushing to maintain his spot at left back, with Riise likely to get the nod ahead of Aurelio in midfield.
Aston Villa are in freefall after a decent start to the season, they have won twice in the last 18 games in all competitions, and are facing the prospect of their worst ever Premiership season.
A victory for the reds would give them a 9 point lead over 5th placed Bolton, and would significantly help to cement our place in the Champions League qualifiers next season. Arsenal are two points ahead of the reds with a game in hand although they do have to visit Anfield in a couple of weeks time.
Liverpool v Villa stats
Liverpool have not lost to Villa in the last 10 Premiership games. The reds have won the last 4 against the midlands club. In October at Anfield, the reds put in one of their first dominant performances of the season, winning 3-1 thanks to 3 goals in 13 minutes just before half time.
Last season at Villa Park, the reds huffed and puffed until an 85th minute penalty from Gerrard and an 89th minute Alonso strike secured all three points in a 2-0 victory.
Dirk Kuyt is the reds current top Premiership scorer with 9 goals (10 in all comps). Benitez has set the player an 18 goal target for this season.
Liverpool are evens for the win, with the draw at 12/5. A Villa win is the outside bet at 11/4.
Dirk Kuyt and Craig Bellamy are favourites for first scorer at 11/2. Some of the midfielders are decent value for this one: Alonso and Riise are at 14/1.
Scorelines: 2-1 to the reds is 7/1, 1-0 to the reds is 6/1 and 2-0 is 15/2. If you fancy the reds to go for a cricket score – you can get 16/1 for 3-0 and 40/1 for 4-0.
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The reds have had a 10 day break (should have gone on a training camp in Portugal 😉 ) and we expect them to look sharp for this one. Mascherano is pushing for a place in midfield against the main three, Arbeola has fitted in well at Liverpool, and Fowler should make the bench. Liverpool should win, and we think they will. 3-1 to the reds. Bellamy and Kuyt twice.