Liverpool take on Aston Villa desperate to transform their wretched Anfield form and get some revenge for the 7-2 loss they suffered to the Villans in the Midlands earlier this season. The Reds have lost six straight home games and are winless at Anfield since December 16. Jurgen Klopp’s charges also lost the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final 3-1 to Real Madrid on Tuesday night. Express Sport looks at how Liverpool could line up for the visit of Villa.
Goalkeeper – Alisson
Alisson will keep his spot in goal for Liverpool after conceding three against Real Madrid in midweek.
The Brazilian may be disappointed with the goals he conceded, in particular the Vinicius Junior near-post effort that made it 3-1.
Alisson has conceded 26 goals in 25 Premier League games this season and kept just seven clean sheets.
It was Adrian between the sticks for that unforgettable 7-2 loss at Villa Park, however, with Liverpool having allowed in 36 goals in 30 top-flight games thus far.
Defence – Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson
The same back four that faced Real Madrid should start here given Liverpool’s lack of alternative options.
Given it is a must-win game for the Reds, who are staring at a quarter-final exit of the Champions League which would leave them reliant on qualifying for the top four via the league, tweaks are unlikely.
That means Trent Alexander-Arnold, after his midweek error, and Andy Robertson will start over Neco Williams and Kostas Tsimikas in the full-back roles.
Centre-backs Nat Phillips and Ozan Kabak struggled against Karim Benzema and Vinicius in Spain and will hope to produce a sturdier display here after four clean sheets from four in their previous starts together.
Midfield – Fabinho, Thiago, Jones
The area most likely to be switched up is midfield, with Fabinho, Gini Wijnaldum and Naby Keita all underwhelming in Europe.
Keita was hooked off after just 42 minutes and stands little chance of starting again here, with Curtis Jones the prime candidate to come in and replace him.
The England under-21 international will in theory offer added creative threat though James Milner is another option to get the nod after a strong showing at Arsenal.
Fabinho will keep his spot in the holding midfield role but must be much more alike the player he was against Wolves and Arsenal than the one he was against Real Madrid, to whom he regularly gifted possession.
With Wijnaldum also struggling and looking tired in Madrid, Thiago Alcantara could return to offer extra on-ball quality.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may meanwhile fancy his chances of minutes off the bench though he has been sparingly used this season.
Attack – Salah, Firmino, Jota
Klopp spoke up the possibility of starting all four of his forwards prior to facing Real Madrid but while missing talisman Jack Grealish, Aston Villa are a tidy side against whom that would be a big risk.
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Sadio Mane has desperately struggled for his best form of late, having been below-par for much of the season, and should be the one to make way here.
Mohamed Salah will hope to match or surpass Tottenham’s Harry Kane on 19 goals in the Golden Boot race while Diogo Jota also has a strong scoring record in the league this term, with eight in 13 outings. They will start on either flank.
Roberto Firmino has been another disappointment for Liverpool this season but after playing for just nine minutes on Tuesday night, should return to the starting eleven as the centre-forward.
Mane will then be the main attacking option off the bench alongside Xherdan Shaqiri and perhaps Divock Origi, though the Belgian has missed out on the match-day squad for the past three matches across all competitions.
Predicted Liverpool XI vs Aston Villa (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Phillips, Kabak, Robertson; Fabinho, Thiago, Milner; Salah, Firmino, Jota.