Liverpool will aim to get their Premier League season back on track when they make the trip to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Boxing Day.
The Merseyside outfit returned to competitive action following the World Cup in Thursday’s EFL Cup round of 16 meeting with Man City, who ended their title defence with a thrilling 3-2 win at the Etihad Stadium.
Jurgen Klopp and co. must quickly dust themselves down ahead of the resumption of their Premier League campaign against Aston Villa, who have enjoyed a perfect start under new manager Unai Emery.
Liverpool Team News
Luis Diaz has suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee injury and was recently forced to go under the knife, ruling him out of action until March. Diogo Jota and Arthur also remain out with calf and knee injuries, respectively.
Both Virgil van Dijk and Trent Alexander-Arnold were absent during Liverpool’s League Cup defeat to Man City, but Klopp is ready to welcome them back against Aston Villa. However, they suffered a blow when James Milner was forced off action before half-time with a suspected hamstring issue, while Roberto Firmino suffered a calf problem earlier in the week.
Predicted Liverpool Lineup vs Aston Villa (4-3-3)
Alisson Becker was rested in the Carabao Cup meeting with Man City as Caoimhin Kelleher donned the gloves. But the Brazilian is expected to assume his goalkeeping duties against Aston Villa at Villa Park.
In front of Alisson, a back four of Trent Alexander-Arnold, Joel Matip, Virgil van Dijk and Andy Robertson are expected to start. Van Dijk has returned to training and should partner Matip in central defence, while Alexander-Arnold is hopeful of recovering from illness.
With Ibrahima Konate yet to return to Liverpool after participating in the World Cup final with France, Nat Phillips and Joe Gomez will offer cover for defensive positions from the bench.
Fabinho came off the bench against Man City in the EFL Cup defeat at the Etihad Stadium but should start on Monday. The Brazilian will anchor Liverpool’s midfield from his No.6 position, offering stability to the team and the base for Thiago Alcantara and Harvey Elliot to join in attacks.
If Klopp needs fresh legs in midfield in the second half, he could have the likes of Jordan Henderson, Naby Keita and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on the bench to bring on.
With Roberto Firmino doubtful and Diogo Jota and Luis Diaz out injured, it is very much possible for Klopp to stick with the front three of Mohamed Salah, Darwin Nunez and Fabio Carvalho that started at Man City in the EFL Cup fourth round.
Nunez will spearhead the Liverpool attack, with Salah and Carvalho offering pace, flair and creativity from wide areas. Due to the trio’s pace, power and movement, the Reds could be a big threat on the counter against Aston Villa.