Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool can’t afford complacency against Aston Villa
Liverpool blogger We Go Again previews the Reds's clash against Aston Villa at Anfield on Saturday
It is finally back! After what felt like an eternity, the Premier League returns this weekend with a bang.
Liverpool face a real test in an Aston Villa side that remains unbeaten this season and are a team that the Reds have struggled against at Anfield in recent seasons.
Villa were shock 3-1 winners in this fixture in the 2012/13 campaign before coming from two goals behind to rescue a 2-2 draw last term.
Manager Brendan Rodgers will be hoping that Liverpool can continue to show that they have progressed under his tutelage by beating Villa on Saturday.
For the Reds, the key is not to be too over confident.
In recent meetings, Rodgers has gone with a really attacking side against Villa and the home side have been picked off on the counter attack. This cannot happen on Saturday.
Liverpool have to remain a balanced side and play their usual game; pass the ball comfortably until an opening arises, creating plenty of chances.
In terms of a starting line-up, it is time Liverpool introduce Adam Lallana to the Anfield faithful.
Lallana will add a lot to Liverpool’s game and should prove to be a very good buy for Rodgers. The England international will bring hard work, skill, creativity and flair to our team – all things we are not missing but we can always do with more!
The former Southampton captain scored in a behind closed doors friendly against Wolves recently, which means he will have to prove his match fitness for this game.
Other than that, I would stick with the same team that played against Spurs and move Raheem Sterling up alongside Mario Balotelli.
Sterling would really benefit from a free role alongside Balotelli, who will spearhead the Liverpool attack.
The midfield of Joe Allen, Steven Gerrard and Jordan Henderson provides great energy as well as technical prowess that I think Villa will really struggle to cope with.
As for the back four, Liverpool should not change anything from the Tottenham game. We need to find a settled defence and create partnerships in the team, and playing together in a game like this will help develop a chemistry with each other.
Liverpool could also be boosted by the return of Jose Enrique and Jon Flanagan to the squad, who will both offer great competition to the current first-team full-backs.
Probable starting line-up: Simon Mignolet; Javier Manquillo, Dejan Lovren, Mamadou Sakho, Alberto Moreno; Steven Gerrard, Jordan Henderson, Joe Allen; Adam Lallana; Raheem Sterling and Mario Balotelli.
Bench: Brad Jones, Jon Flanagan, Kolo Toure, Emre Can, Phil Coutinho, Lazar Markovic, Rickie Lambert
Prediction: It will be a close game but Liverpool should win it by one or two goals. Liverpool 2-0.
We Go Again is a Liverpool blog. Follow here for everything Liverpool, including news, opinion and much more.