LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILLA PREVIEW: FINAL CHANCE FOR RODGERS
Liverpool’s manager Brendan Rodgers frequently makes use of the word ‘character’, while talking to the press. Yet, it’s been six games since Liverpool won a 90-minute fixture, indicating the team’s ‘deficiency in character’. In fact, Liverpool’s last game against League 2 side Carlisle United clearly indicated how poorly has the team performed this season. Despite spending over £70 million on new players, the Reds struggled against a team with a combined value of around £750,000 and in the end the game had to be decided on penalties, which narrowly went towards Liverpool’s favour. In fact, there isn’t a single game in the season where Liverpool have given a convincing result.
With voices increasingly becoming louder in demanding change in Liverpool’s managerial system, tonight’s game could certainly decide whether Brendan Rodgers continues as the Liverpool manager or not. Anything less than a win certainly won’t be acceptable for fans. In fact, a loss or a draw today is enough to put a massive dent to Liverpool’s hope of qualifying for the Champions League next season.
Patience stretched to the limit
If titles would be decided by the patience of its team’s owners, perhaps Liverpool could have been league winners in the last three seasons. Unfortunately for FSG, patience counts for nothing in the world of football without regular wins. Under manager Brendan Rodgers Liverpool have won only 50.31% of its fixtures- stats that are unacceptable for a team that was once a powerhouse in world football. Without victories, FSG can soon expect several empty seats at Anfield from next week. Aston Villa have been tough opponents for Liverpool in the last few seasons and if the weak co-ordination displayed by the team in the last two fixture isn’t improved upon today, even a draw would be hard to imagine.
Outside the top 5, Aston Villa is one of the few teams that has the ability to win against any team in England. Despite being labeled as a ‘mid-table team’, Aston Villa has proven to be one of the most difficult opponents for Liverpool in the past few seasons. In the past 10 occasions that the two teams played against each other, Liverpool have won 4 and lost 4, with 2 matches ending in draw. The last time the two teams met, Aston Villa won 2-1 in the semi-finals of the FA Cup, with former player Christian Benteke playing instrumental role in their victory. However, Benteke is set to miss the match because of injury and Ings and Sturridge are expected to handle the attack. Also missing in the fixture will be Roberto Firmino, Jordan Henderson and Dejan Lovren, all of whom are injured.