Liverpool v Aston Villa, Sat 15:00
Liverpool’s inability to obtain a Champions League spot is rapidly descending into the risk of Premier League mediocrity come the end of this season and will seem all the more likely should the Reds fail to get a result against Aston Villa on Saturday, as Bet365 offer appealing odds on the Villains to shock Kenny Daglish’s side and take all three points, and push the Liverpool boss top of the sack race markets.
The Merseysiders have lost their last three matches on the bounce and considering that the team succumbed to a Wigan defeat last time out at Anfield, the points are anything but in the bag.
Surprising it is then, that Kenny Dalglish’s side currently hold the second best home defence in the Premier League having let in an average of just 0.80 goals per game this season, keeping a clean sheet in 33% of their games at Anfield.
It would therefore only be logic to assume that attack is what has let the team down this campaign and given their variety of striker woes, it doesn’t seem so surprising.
Andy Carroll continues to fall short of the expectations his £35m transfer fee created and injuries have stopped Craig Bellamy from putting together any significant string of scoring form.
Eight-match suspension or not, Luis Suarez has netted just twice in his last seven league matches, having to instead drop into the role of playmaker at times in order to help what appears to be a lack of midfield creation.
With all their bad luck of late however, Aston Villa aren’t far behind and run the risk of a relegation threat if they fail to start gaining points and soon.
Alex McCleish’s men have won just two games in their last ten attempts and statistics suggest that it won’t matter to them whether they’re playing at home or not as they hold near identical records in terms of attack and defence both at and away from Villa Park this campaign.
As if recent form wasn’t bad enough for the hosts, Pepe Reina will begin his three-match ban this weekend and with Alexander Doni in place to deputise, Gabriel Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann will be hoping to prey upon the new introduction.
Both sides have hefty injury lists and while Martin Kelly, Glen Johnson and Daniel Agger are in contention to play for the Reds, McCleish will be hoping to see Carlos Cuellar, Alan Hutton, Charles N’Zogbia and Andreas Weimann back from injury