Aston Villa are expected to hand a debut to exciting Spanish midfielder Charles Gil when they welcome Liverpool to Villa Park later today.
The 22 year old was signed from Valencia for a reported fee in the region of £3.2m midweek and goes straight into the squad. The versatile attacker an play on either flank or behind the strikers and has been tipped to make a big impact by his new manager, Paul Lambert.
Aston Villa v Liverpool Free £200
Don’t forget you can pick up £200 in free bets on any Premier League game today from Bet365, and bet in play during the match!!
“He’ll give us something I think we’ve been crying out for,” Lambert said. “That creativity spark, and that’s what we’ve been needing to finish off the work.
“We needed someone like him to unlock doors and try and make things happen. But as I’ve said before, I’m not going to put masses of expectancy level when he’s just here.
“He’s 22, great potential to be a really good player. He’s played in La Liga, knows the game, he’s been at a massive club, played against great teams and great players and he’s someone who will excite everybody.
“Technically he’s excellent, he’s really comfortable with the ball, which you expect from him, and I’m looking forward to working with him.”
The inclusion of Gil is a big boost to Villa, as too is the return of Fabian Delph. The former Leeds United midfielder, a reported transfer target for Liverpool, is available following a three match ban. Defender Ciaran Clarke misses out however as he serves a one-game suspension following his dismissal in last Saturday’s 1-0 defeat at Leicester.
Injured trio Ron Vlaar (knee), Philippe Senderos (thigh) and Libor Kozak (leg) will also be missing for Villa.
Liverpool meanwhile hope to have Steven Gerrard and Adam Lallana available. Gerrard was substituted at half-time of Saturday’s 1-0 win at Sunderland with a tight hamstring while Lallana has been out since New Year’s Day with a thigh injury but is making good progress.
Raheem Sterling is back in the squad after a being given a break by Brendan Rodgers while youngster Jordon Ibe has been recalled early from a loan spell at Derby and could feature.