ASTON VILLA host Liverpool on Sunday night. Jack Wright (@JackWright_BSB ) is on-hand to preview the match-up .
Aston Villa vs Liverpool | Sunday 4th October 2020, 19:15 | Sky Sports
Aston Villa suffered their first defeat of the season as their shadow side exited the Carabao Cup at the hands of Stoke, but that should have no bearing on this match with 11 changes expected for the visit of the champions whose heavily rotated side were also were knocked out of the competition by Arsenal in midweek.
Former Evertonian Ross Barkley could pick no better side to make his debut against and will be desperate to do so following his loan switch to Villa Park but he may have to make-do with a place on the bench – his new side entering the weekend in the Champions League places, boasting two wins from two without conceding a goal.
This game will definitely be seen as a marker for Villa’s defensive resilience as Dean Smith’s side failed to keep a clean sheet against any of last season’s top-seven, conceding on average an unhealthy 2.79 goals per-game. The Villans shipped twice or more in 13 of those 14 fixtures – and are a best priced 1/3 to concede at least two again here.
Villa did that in both league games against the Merseysiders last season but made the eventual title winners fight for the three points on both occasions.
It was goalless at Anfield until Sadio Mane struck with just under 20 minutes left and the game was in the balance until Curtis Jones came off the bench to settle the contest as the clock ticked in to the 90th minute.
In this fixture last season, Trezeguet actually gave the hosts the lead, a lead which they held until a crazy ending to the game saw Andy Robertson equalise in the 87th minute before that man Mane popped up four minutes in to injury time to claim all three points.
Liverpool’s endless threats
Jurgen Klopp celebrated his 400th Premier League goal in charge of Liverpool when Diego Jota scored on debut against the Gunners on Monday night, the quickest manager in the club’s illustrious history to reach that landmark – it was also already their 12th goal of this campaign.
Mane and Mo Salah have shared half that total with three apiece and it is no surprise to see the Moroccan at the head of the player to score market. With Mane unavailable after testing positive for COVID-19 and Rhian Brewster no longer at the Anfield outfit, Jota is likely to come in.
Jota made an immediate impression against Arsenal on debut, scoring from one of three attempts at goal. I suspect he’ll be heavily involved again here and therefore make him a strong candidate to make a mark.
However given Emiliano Martinez is yet to be beaten and impressed massively at the back end of last season for Arsenal, I am instead going to play Jota to have 2+ shots on-target at odds of 15/8 with Betfair.
The man most likely to be tasked with keeping Liverpool’s new signing quiet is Matty Cash, signed for a reported £16m fee from Championship side Nottingham Forest in the close season, and this is sure to be a big test and a big game for him.
Cash has been booked in one of his two games this season. Betfair have Cash priced up as a 15/8 to see a card, but you can get 6/1 with Bet365. Although not prolific, the former Forest man was booked in seven of 42 league appearances in the Championship last season. This will surely be his biggest test to date.