Liverpool vs Aston Villa | Saturday 10th April 2021, 15:00 | Sky Sports
At first glance I can see why a lot of people are looking to find a way to oppose goals in this encounter. Liverpool have lost their last six league games at Anfield and have only managed a single goal – a penalty – in seven Premier League matches at home in 2021.
Their opponents Aston Villa may have scored three late goals to beat Fulham last week but that only took their total for the last 10 games to eight, while they have been quite solid defensively, only conceding 10 goals themselves across that time period.
Despite all this, I can see goals on Merseyside on Saturday afternoon. Across the seven Liverpool home games in 2021, they have had 101 shots, 23 of which were on target and would have expected seven or eight goals based on the performance data. Simply put: their results are unsustainably poor based on the volume of chances they have created.
Despite their paucity of goals in the last couple of months (Jack Grealish’s absence certainly not coincidental), Villa will surely fancy themselves to create chances given how easy they found it in the reverse fixtures. The Villains scored seven goals in that encounter as they found it easy to get behind Liverpool’s high line. That Liverpool high line featured Virgil Van Dijk and Joe Gomez who possess far more speed than Nathaniel Phillips and Ozan Kabak.
Ollie Watkins scored a hat-trick that day and has managed 11 goals in 29 games, which is around three short of the total the xG experts expect him to have managed. I think the Villa front man has the speed to trouble Liverpool and surely the confidence to believe he can score, so the 11/4 Unibet are offering on him to score makes appeal to me.
Ultimately I do expect Liverpool to win. They haven’t created the volume of chances they did last term but they still have two in-form forwards in Mo Salah and Diogo Jota and they need to win this game for the sake of their top four hopes.
While they have a huge Champions League game against Real Madrid to come, I expect Jurgen Klopp to play his strongest side as surely the Premier League still offers them the greatest opportunity of entering Europe’s top competition next season. I may be going against popular opinion but I will take the 2/1 with Bet365 on Liverpool to win and both teams to score.
Finally, I will also enter the bookings market. Paul Tierney has refereed 19 Premier League games this term and has the highest yellow cards per game count at 3.89. With this in mind, I am pleased to see Matt Targett available at 6/1 with William Hill to be booked.
The Villa left back has six yellow cards in 29 league games this season and is likely to get little protection when facing Mo Salah and a marauding Trent Alexander-Arnold. 6/1 looks huge to me all things considered.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins to score (11/4 Unibet)
Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Liverpool to win and Both Teams To Score (2/1 Bet365)
Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Matt Targett to be booked (6/1 William Hill)