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Match Preview: Liverpool v Aston Villa - Can Villa keep rolling with statement win at Anfield?

Villa haven’t won at Liverpool in nearly a decade. Why can’t this be the year? Here’s everything you need to know prior to kick-off!

Liverpool FC v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Simon Stacpoole/Offside/Offside via Getty Images

The build-up

Villa’s season continues with a trip to Anfield to face Liverpool on Sunday.

Unai Emery’s men have had a decent start to the season as an opening day defeat to Newcastle United was quickly forgotten thanks to a 4-0 win over Everton and a 3-1 away success at Burnley last weekend.

A brace from Matty Cash and a composed finish from Moussa Diaby sealed Villa’s triumph over their fellow Claret and Blues at Turf Moor.

Villa then advanced to the Europa Conference League group stage in midweek as they beat Hibernian 3-0 at Villa Park courtesy of goals from Jhon Durán, Leon Bailey, and Cash to seal an 8-0 win on aggregate and set up their first European group stage campaign since 2008/09.

Focus now switches back to the league and a win at Anfield on Sunday could take Villa into the top four of the Premier League heading into the international break.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have collected seven points from their opening three games, as an opening day draw with Chelsea was followed by wins over Bournemouth and Newcastle United.

The Reds had a dramatic and incident-filled encounter at St James’ Park last time out, as Anthony Gordon’s strike put the hosts ahead before Virgil van Dijk was sent off for a lunge at Alexander Isak. 10-man Liverpool turned the game around in the final 10 minutes as two strikes from Uruguayan striker Darwin Nunez sealed an unlikely 2-1 win.

Should Liverpool make it three wins in a row against Villa, they could go top of the table, depending on other results.

The last meeting between the two was a pivotal one last season as a 1-1 draw in May cost Liverpool a place in the Champions League and put Villa’s European destiny in their own hands.

Newcastle United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Team News

Aston Villa v Everton FC - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Villa are sweating over the fitness of goalkeeper Emi Martinez who missed the Burnley game and the second leg against Hibs due to a calf injury sustained in the first leg.

Robin Olsen may deputize in goal for the Argentine again.

Unai Emery will still be without Alex Moreno, Jacob Ramsey, Philippe Coutinho, Tyrone Mings, and Emi Buendia who are out with hamstring, metatarsal, and ACL injuries, respectively.

Ezri Konsa may play at right-back again, allowing new goalscoring sensation Matty Cash to play further forward as he did against Burnley. Diego Carlos should partner Pau Torres at centre-back.

New signings Nicolo Zaniolo and Clement Lenglet could be in the squad for trip north, while Leander Dendoncker may well return to the squad after he played against Hibs in midweek

Liverpool are without their first-choice centre-back pairing as Van Dijk is suspended and Ibrahima Konate has a muscle injury. Joe Gomez and Joel Matip will play at the heart of the Reds’ defence.

Newcastle United v Liverpool FC - Premier League Photo by Joe Prior/Visionhaus via Getty Images

Curtis Jones is out with an ankle injury and Thiago Alcantara has a hip problem.

Nunez may again be used as a super-sub, with Mohamed Salah and Luis Diaz partnering Cody Gakpo in the hosts’ attack.

Likely Lineups

Aston Villa (4-2-2-2)

Olsen; Konsa, Carlos, Pau, Digne; Cash, Kamara, Luiz, McGinn; Watkins, Diaby

Liverpool (4-3-3)

Becker; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Gomez, Robertson; Szoboszlai, Endo, Mac Allister; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz

Score Prediction

Given Liverpool’s defensive issues and the form and potency of Villa’s attack, this could be a high-scoring contest.

The loss of Van Dijk in particular leaves a gaping hole in the hosts’ backline and Villa will fancy their chances of gaining their first victory at Anfield since 2014.

Prediction: Liverpool 2 Aston Villa 3