Saturday, December 15, 2012

Match Preview: Liverpool vs Aston Villa

Brendan Rodgers feels that his Liverpool side have recovered well from what he calls a 'disastrous' start to the season as they prepare to host Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday.

Liverpool sit in 10th place, but Reds fans will be looking for their team to build upon solid recent form and make strides up the table.

Last Sunday's turnaround against West Ham, without suspended top scorer Luis Suarez, will have boosted morale and the controversial Uruguayan is available for selection once again.

Joe Cole stepped up to the plate to notch his first Premier League goal since April 2011 last weekend, but he has yet to start a league fixture so far this season. Despite his impressive contribution at Upton Park, Cole's future at Anfield is still uncertain, and it would be a surprise if he started against Villa.

Only goal difference keeps Paul Lambert's side out of the drop zone, but Wednesday night's Capital One Cup win at Norwich should have lifted spirits at Villa Park.

Goals have been hard to come by this season in the league, with just 12 in 16 games, and Darren Bent will not be adding to that total in the near future.

A thigh injury sustained at Carrow Road has sidelined the striker, but given his manager's reluctance to pick him of late, it is questionable whether he would have featured at Anfield.

Villa has a poor record at Anfield, with their victory on Merseyside in 2009 the only one in their last 16 visits.

Luis Suarez will return after serving a one-match suspension for reaching five yellow cards.

The Uruguay international has not been on the score-sheet in five appearances since netting twice against Wigan in mid-November.

Jose Enrique is a doubt after limping out of the win over West Ham with a hamstring strain.

Darren Bent's hamstring injury rules him out of contention until the new year.

The striker withdrew after 35 minutes of the Capital One Cup tie at Norwich on Tuesday, his first start since the Fulham game on 20 October.

Ron Vlaar is still out with a calf strain but Joe Bennett and Enda Stevens are available after recovering from their knee and ankle problems respectively.

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