Predicted XI: Aston Villa (A)

The Reds travel to the Midlands looking to continue their unbeaten start to the season as they face an Aston Villa side plagued by inconsistency.

The key selection issue facing Jurgen Klopp is in midfield due to disciplinary issues that will be discussed later on, rather than anything associated with player fitness as the German fielded an entirely new XI midweek against Arsenal.

Victory with a younger squad meant the Reds could rest crucial players in what is already shaping up to be a campaign of congested fixtures. With that being said here is the predicted line up for Saturday’s visit to Villa Park.

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker

With Adrian deputising for the impressive Caoimhin Kelleher in midweek, Liverpool’s number 1 was given more time to recover from last weekend against Spurs as he aims for the first clean sheet since his return from injury.

The Brazilian looked back to his usual brilliance against Spurs, slotting back in as first choice keeper and commanding the back four.

 

Right Back: Trent Alexander-Arnold

Trent was criticised for his defensive positioning at times during the Tottenham game but going forward his quality is undeniable.

The right back’s ability to deliver from deep positions as well as his creativity from wide areas will be key to breaking down Villas low block 4-3-3.

If he can get the better of Matt Targett then the Reds can really benefit from Trent’s delivery, especially if Villa captain Jack Grealish puts himself in contention to start. He operates on the left side but will surely not have the fitness to track Liverpool’s energetic right-hand side all game.

Centre Back: Dejan Lovren

The Croatian was hit and miss at the weekend but has managed to establish himself as the second-choice centre back, overtaking Joe Gomez in the pecking order as Joel Matip is out injured.

Lovren needs to pick up his form and get back to the consistency that made him a started a couple of season ago, his reliability, leadership and experience are assets that will only benefit this Liverpool side.

Centre Back: Virgil Van Dijk

Van Dijk continues to churn out big performances week in week out and is faced with a tricky opponent this week in the form of Wesley. The target man has scored 4 goals already this season and caused defenders problems this season; although he hasn’t faced a defender of Virgil’s quality yet.

The Dutchman’s passing ability could be essential if rumours of Fabinho’s absence are true as he can miss the midfield out entirely, either hitting the ball diagonally or punching into the front three from his deeper position.

Left Back: Andy Robertson

“Our identity is our intensity” was quoted by Pep Ljinders in midweek and no player arguably exemplifies this more than Andy Roberson.

The explosive fullback completes the back four which play together for the third time this season, with the other two coming at Anfield with victoires against Leicester and Spurs.

 

Holding Midfield: Gini Wijnaldum

With Man City around the corner surely Jurgen Klopp has to take the precaution and rest Fabinho this weekend, especially since a yellow card would mean he misses the potential title decider.

Wijnaldum has proved himself in that position and by playing deeper, Klopp can implement other creative midfielders rather than opting for work rate and intensity.  

Centre Midfield: Jordan Henderson

Following his first home goal in years the skipper returns despite some fans feeling he was underwhelming against Spurs.

Regardless of any cynicism Henderson has the opportunity to stake a claim for starting next week and a good performance here can win supporters back over.

It has been a while since he took a game into his own hands and positive running and direct passing could be a good way to kick on again for the rest of the campaign.

 

 Centre Midfield: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

It was the Ox’s spectacular finish against his old side in midweek that inspired the Reds comeback.

Where Naby Keita struggled the Ox flourished and his goal scoring record and ability to drive with the ball should warrant a start at Villa Park.

Right Wing: Mo Salah

Despite Divock Origi impressing against Arsenal with a brace, the Belgium will have to miss out for Reds Talisman Mo Salah.

Salah is intergral to the front 3, drawing in opposition players to create space so while Mane coming across and Origi operating the Left would be a solid back up plan, Salah has been declared fit and was rested midweek so is expected to return.

Right Wing: Sadio Mane

Mane looks to add more goals to his already impressive tally this season. His desire to win the league is made more apparent each week, with the Senegal winger shining brighter whenever the spotlight is intensified.

Centre Forward: Roberto Firmino

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Firmino failed to find the net last time the Reds visited Villa Park in a 6-0 Valentine’s Day massacre back in 2016.

The Brazillian will be eager to alter that stat and score what could be a vital goal to extend the Red’s unbeaten run for the season and go into the Man City game with maximum momentum.

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