Steven Gerrard's much publicised return to Anfield is upon us, with the Kop icon finally in an opposition dugout.
Gerrard has started well at Villa but I don't think he's getting too carried away with it, with all four games being settled by a single goal showing just how competitive his start has been. Villa have been on the right end of three of those matches but they lost the only match they've had against a side of Liverpool's class when Manchester City defeated them 2-1.
With this in mind I did consider backing Liverpool to win by a single goal but I will take a safer option – in my view – and take them to win with three goals or fewer scored.
There have been just 10 goals in Gerrard's four matches as Villa boss but more crucially – to me at least – the total xG has never been greater than three. The game against Brighton barely merited a goal, let alone two, while their four goals against Crystal Palace and Leicester consisted of three set pieces and a John McGinn wonder strike.
Moreover, despite conceding two against Manchester City they allowed very few clear cut chances and I expect a similar game plan on Saturday against Liverpool.
Obviously Liverpool are in excellent form and in Mohamed Salah have arguably the best player in the world right now. Ultimately I do expect Liverpool to prevail but for all the reasons outlined above I do not expect a drubbing.
Five of Liverpool's 10 league victories this season have seen three goals or fewer scored and given that Villa look pretty tight defensively, I think the 7/5 Bet365 are offering on Liverpool to win and under 3.5 goals to be scored is excellent value.
Elsewhere in this encounter, I like the look of Matt Targett to be booked at 9/2 with William Hill. Only John McGinn has committed more fouls than Targett's 14 for Villa this season, yet McGinn is just 5/2.
Targett was booked in this same fixture last season and has picked up nine booking in 51 appearances since the start of last season. That stat suggests the 9/2 is about right but there are a couple of factors in our favour here.
Firstly, Targett will be up again Salah and Trent Alexander-Arnols this season and secondly referee Stauart Attwell loves a card. Attwell averages just 3.2 yellow cards per game this season but his career average- in 146 Premier League matches – is 3.6, which makes the 9/2 on offer for one of the most likely players to pick up a caution, excellent value.
My anytime goalscorer angle is a familiar one, with defenders being so reliable in terms of goal returns for Chelsea this term.
Reece James is the highest scoring defender for the West London side so he just pips Antonio Rudiger in the anytime goalscorer market.
James has four goals in just 11 Premier League matches this season and the 11/2 Bet365 are offering on him finding the net looks big given that Leeds are a bottom eight defence looking at the underlying data, while also knowing that Bielsa will not change his approach at all for this encounter.