Liverpool will travel to Birmingham on Saturday, 24 August, to face Aston Villa in the Barclays Premier League 2013-14. The Reds opened their campaign with a 1-0 home win against Stoke City. Like many games last season, Brendan Rodgers' team were dominant in terms of possession and chances created but were able to score only one goal, and that too in the last ten minutes.
Stoke City were awarded a penalty and Liverpool fans readied themselves to be robbed of another three points. However, new signing Simon Mignolet saved the spot kick and earned his team three points. Although they were able to win in the end, Liverpool need to be more clinical in front of goal if they are to stand any chance of making it to the top four this season.
Aston Villa have begun the season in a promising form. Their opening day 3-1 victory away at Arsenal was followed by a mid-week 2-1 defeat to Chelsea. Paul Lambert's team had matched the title contenders until an 86-minute header from Branislav Ivanovic snatched the points away. Regardless of the result, Lambert will be proud of the performance in the opening two games.
Faced with Arsenal away, Chelsea away and Liverpool at home in their first three games, Liverpool have not backed away from the challenge. Striker Christian Benteke in particular has been exceptional. The Belgian center forward will be keen to add to his three goals this season and he seems to enjoy playing against Liverpool scoring three goals against them last season, more than any other player in the league.
Liverpool: Uruguayan duo Sebastian Coates and Luis Suarez are the only absentees for Brendan Rodgers. Coates has torn his ACL, while Suarez is suspended for biting Branislav Ivanovic last season.
Aston Villa: Lambert will be without three players: Charles N'zogbia has Achilles problems, Nathan Baker has an ankle injury, Ciaran Clark and Chris Herd are out with head and calf injuries respectively.
Villa dealt Liverpool an embarrassing 3-1 defeat at Anfield in 2012, with Benteke running riot during the game. The physicality of the center forward proved to be too much for Liverpool's center back to deal with. The Reds got some measure of revenge in the fixture at Villa Park, with Steven Gerrard scoring the winner from the penalty spot. Gerrard has scored more goals against Villa than any other team in his career.
Where to Watch
Kick-off is at 10pm IST (Saturday, August 24) and live streaming is available on Star Sports and ESPN HD.
Aston Villa: Guza, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Luna, El Amadi, Westwood, Delp, Weimann, Benteke, Agbonlahor
Liverpool: Mignolet, Johnson, Youre, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Henderson, Aspas, Sturridge, Coutinho