Tomorrow Liverpool will face one of their nemesis teams in the league – Liverpool have only beaten Villa once at Anfield in the last five league meetings in Merseyside.
Aston Villa come back to Anfield in an attempt to steal more points from The Reds. As the teams prepare for their 187th competitive match, Liverpool will looking to end a long run of nine games without a win from a fixture versus Aston Villa. Things will be a little tougher than Liverpool would have liked as Brenden Rodgers announced the team will be without injured Daniel Sturridge in the fixture.
If it wasn’t for the late signing of Mario Balotelli, Liverpool may have been going into this fixture digging deep for a formation that can still produce goals. As it happens, Liverpool’s strike-force still has some sting thanks to the Italian forward’s £16 million transfer to Anfield. Excitement will stir in Anfield on a special afternoon as the volatile striker’s home debut will finally be here.
Many Liverpool fans expect Balotelli to turn on the pace in the hope that the Italian youngster will show the same brilliance seen in strikers such as Fowler, Owen, Torres and Sureaz. And nothing would please fans more than for Balotelli to smash one in at the Kop End to prove he’s here to add his name to another long list of legacy Liverpool strikers.
Brenden Rodger’s knows that Balotelli was a risk, but he’ll be looking to prove a point to the Premier League that Balotelli is back to score goals.
Steven Gerrard will also be playing with an added incentive as he’s hit 12 Premier League goals versus Villa in his career. This could be one of his last chances to beat that record as next season there are rumours of Gerrard’s possible retirement.
So far this season we’ve seen a turbulent Liverpool side moving up in gears and showing flashes of the same brilliance that landed them second in the league just a whisker away from the title. However, last game’s performance versus Tottenham away at White Hart Lane was the most reassuring.
The Reds took their victory from North London with only 39.5% possession. It’s an impressive ratio considering 3 goals were score. Plus, this wasn’t a Liverpool team holding out for a victory with a marginal lead and limited possession; it was a convincing win from a team that showed discipline playing away from home – something that we started to see kick into place last season.
There is no doubt that every Liverpool fan will have all eyes on Anfield. If the players can play as well as they did against Tottenham away, then surely this is it – a massive home win versus Aston Villa. Hopes of a magical Balotelli clicking into place and Steven Gerrard smashing numbers 13 and 14 would set the city alight.