Wolves vs Liverpool highlights

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Team news, stats and prediction ahead of Liverpool vs Steven Gerrard’s Aston Villa in the Premier League on Saturday; kick-off 3pm.

Team news

Liverpool forward Diogo Jota will be assessed before the visit of Aston Villa having missed some training this week.

The Portugal international – along with a number of rested players – did not travel to Milan for the midweek Champions League tie because of a knock sustained at Wolves last weekend.

Fellow forward Divock Origi is fit, however, having sat out full training on Thursday as part of his recovery – a session which he was joined by Roberto Firmino who is back after a hamstring problem.

Former Liverpool striker Danny Ings could return to the Villa matchday squad.

Ings has not featured since a 2-1 victory over Brighton on November 20 because of an unspecified injury, but is now back in full training.

Morgan Sanson has recovered from a bout of illness but Bertrand Traore and Leon Bailey remain out, with the latter sidelined by damage to a quad muscle until after Christmas.

How to follow

Follow Liverpool vs Aston Villa in our dedicated live match blog. Highlights will also be published on the Sky Sports digital platforms and the Sky Sports Football YouTube channel from 5.15pm on Saturday.

Last time out…

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Liverpool’s win against Wolves

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FREE TO WATCH: Highlights from Aston Villa’s win against Leicester

Jones Knows prediction

I was trying to nab a price from Sky Bet on Steven Gerrard diving into the Kop, celebrating a Liverpool goal in this one.

But it’s such a certainty, they weren’t willing to lay a penny.

Joshing aside, the Liverpool hero has quite a job on his hands to stop his former side. Jurgen Klopp’s men have scored in their last 30 matches across all competitions, have scored two or more goals in 19 of their last 20 games and possess the highest expected goals (37.82), posted the most shots per game (19.3) and most shots on target (6.9) per game in the Premier League this season. Yikes.

However, Gerrard needs to be commended for how tough to beat he’s made Aston Villa in such a short space of time. In all four games under Gerrard, three of those wins, his side have covered at least 109km, showcasing a higher work-rate than under the previous boss Dean Smith, where they covered over 105km in only one of his last 11 games.

I was impressed with how they restricted Manchester City to such low-probability chances in the 2-1 defeat. It took a pot-shot from Ruben Dias and one of the goals of the season from Bernardo Silva to break them down.

City usually post an expected goals figure of 2.26 over the course of the 90 minutes but were limited to just 1.04 at Villa Park, their third-lowest tally of the season. That inspires me to believe in the Villa low-block at Anfield.

They can make this a fiddly afternoon for Klopp’s men. A low-scoring Liverpool win is the most likely outcome but I’m happy to have a little more faith in Villa than that and I’ll happily take odds-against for them to start with a +2 goal handicap, meaning we will collect if they win, draw or lose by one goal.

SCORE PREDICTION: 1-0

BETTING ANGLE: Aston Villa +2 handicap (6/5 with Sky Bet)

Opta stats

  • Aston Villa against Liverpool has been won by the away side on 20 occasions in the Premier League, with only Manchester City vs Manchester United (21) seeing more away wins in the competition’s history.
  • Only Arsenal against Liverpool (6) has seen more hat-tricks scored than Aston Villa vs Liverpool (4) in Premier League history, with Villa’s Ollie Watkins the last player to score one in October 2020.
  • Aston Villa have won three of their four Premier League games under Steven Gerrard (L1), as many as they had in 11 games under Dean Smith this season (D1 L7). Gerrard is looking to be the first Villa manager to win his first two Premier League away games in charge of the club since John Gregory (first 5 in 1998).
  • This will be Steven Gerrard’s first match against Liverpool as a manager, the club he played for 710 times in all competitions, the third-most in the Reds’ history. Former players managing against the Reds at Anfield in the Premier League have lost 14 of their last 16 visits (W1 D1), with Kevin Keegan the last former Liverpool player to win there, in May 2003 with Manchester City.
  • Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah has either scored or assisted a goal in 13 consecutive Premier League games, setting up Divock Origi’s late winner against Wolves last time out. It’s the second longest run of consecutive games with a goal involvement in the competition’s history, after Jamie Vardy’s run of 15 between August and December 2015.

Latest Essential Football Podcast

Alice Piper is joined by Sky Sports football journalists Ron Walker, Charlotte Marsh and Ben Grounds to look ahead to the Premier League weekend.

PART 1 | Ralf Rangnick’s start at Manchester United goes under the microscope ahead of their trip to Norwich. Plus, Steven Gerrard goes back to Anfield for the first time as a manager, when Aston Villa face Liverpool. We look at his start in the Midlands and that romantic return.

PART 2 | Leicester host Newcastle on Sunday, with Eddie Howe looking to land back-to-back wins for the Magpies. We assess their chances of doing that. Plus, after Everton’s last-gasp win over Arsenal, we build up to their Super Sunday clash with Crystal Palace and debate what Rafa Benitez must do to build on that victory.

PART 3 | We preview the Friday Night Football clash between Brentford and Watford, which starts a pivotal run of games for Claudio Ranieri’s side, and also take a look at Chelsea’s recent drop in form.



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