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Predicting the lineup against Liverpool: How will AVFC deal with Suarez?

Trying to guess how Paul Lambert will handle his squad for tomorrow's trip to Anfield.

Matthew Lewis

Aston Villa will come into tomorrow's match at Anfield relatively healthy and with plenty of options for Paul Lambert. Liverpool's biggest threat - and possibly the biggest in the entire Premier League - is of course Luis Suárez, who has 22 goals in just 16 appearances this season. Normally, with a player of his caliber, and against a good team such as Liverpool, we might expect Lambert to play the 5-3-2 that he's gone to a few times this season (though you may call it, as WhoScored did after last match a 3-5-2, it's being pretty nitpicky to quibble over it).

Unfortunately, Lambert's injury issues, while not severe, will likely prevent him from doing this. The 5-3-2 works best when you've got three central defenders, and with Nathan Baker out thanks to a concussion, there isn't a really good option beyond Ron Vlaar and Ciaran Clark. Instead, I think he goes with a 4-4-2 with a look to counterattack, maybe something like this:

football formations

While Villa now have Ryan Bertrand, I think one day is probably too short of notice for the new signing to joing the starting XI. Should there be any problems with Antonio Luna, though, I wouldn't be surprised to see Bertrand make his Villa debut. The center of the pitch will likely feature Fabian Delph, and Karim El Ahmadi makes sense in a match where you probably should have an extra midfielder keeping an eye on Suárez.

On the wings, Gabby Agbonlahor could work his way up the left, or slot in front of the midfield, playing more of a free role. Marc Albrighton was Villa's player of the month in December, and somehow didn't see the pitch against Arsenal on Monday. He's got the pace to get back if need be, though he doesn't really have the defensive ability to be very useful once he does.

Up front, after scoring for the first time in months, I think Christian Benteke is a given. From there, I think we'll see Lambert introduce Grant Holt to the lineup, though he may be held out as a substitute like Bertrand. Andi Weimann could certainly take the place of any of Holt, Agbonlahor, or Albrighton.

So what do you think? How does Paul Lambert line up Villa to face one of the most potent attacking teams this club has seen in a while? Let us know in the comments!