Starting XI: How should Liverpool line up against Aston Villa?
A perfect run in the Champions League brings us back into our main quest for the season, though it’s going to be a strange feeling when we see Steven Gerrard standing in the away dugout.
In the race for the league title, there’s no time for sentiment. The Liverpool legend is destined for a long career in management, and he is looking like one of the most assured English manager’s of his generation. Just like it isn’t a debate whether Gerrard was a better player than the likes of Lampard and Scholes, he’s a much better manager, too – so a Liverpool win will do little to curtail his career.
That said, Aston Villa do look a much better outfit than they were at the start of the season, which means we will need a strong performance to ensure the three points.
Here’s how we should line up:
The two fullbacks return just a day after Trent Alexander-Arnold was named as the player of the month. Virgil is back in the heart of the defence alongside Matip, though Ibrahima Konate’s performance against AC Milan may give Klopp something to think about.
No changes to our midfield from the recent league games. The Fabinho-Thiago combo could be the best in the league, while Henderson’s influence adds an extra level of stability in games where we want to dictate the central areas. Klopp also has Naby Keita back in the squad who was in fine form before his injury.
The only question in regards to the front three is whether Diogo Jota starts. He is reported to be dealing with a minor problem at the moment so is not guaranteed to play. If he isn’t fit then Divock Origi has earned a place in the starting XI, otherwise it’s a case of ‘same again’ with Jota (who will hopefully be in better finishing form than he was at Wolves)
Gerrard’s knowledge of Liverpool could make it a difficult game on Saturday afternoon, but a full Anfield crowd at Christmas should be enough to garner enough momentum for the win.
Score prediction: Liverpool 3 – 1 Aston Villa