Villa might not be that easy to roll over at Anfield

IT was just a couple of weeks ago when the hopes of qualifying for the UEFA Champions League looked all but buried for Liverpool.

Having secured a spot in European competition next season, the Reds now need to win their last two matches to have a chance of getting to the Champions League. They are also hoping all top-four chasing teams drop points to see where they end up as the season reaches its climax.

Jurgen Klopp’s team is currently on a hot streak with seven back-to-back wins and will be hoping to make it eight at the expense of Aston Villa at Anfield this weekend.

The players have been playing with more gusto, evidently pumped up by the string of positive performances and results.

One such player is Curtis Jones, who is the man of the hour with his recent performances and has turned his doubters into believers.

There was a period when the young Englishman was deemed overrated by some quarters of the fanbase as they were not convinced by his performance, compounded by several injuries.

Technically gifted, the 22-year-old, who scored twice against Leicester City earlier this week, has finally found a position and style of play that best suit him after Klopp made changes.

Like his fellow Scouser, Trent Alexander-Arnold, who scored a cracker of a goal against the Foxes, has also silenced his doubters in recent performances.

Clearly a generational talent with an eye for passing and crosses, the 24-year-old has been on fire with his new inverted fullback role, notching six assists in his last nine games.

Both will be expected to be retained in the starting lineup against Villa.

As the match against Villa will be the last time Liverpool will play at home this season, several players, including James Milner, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and particularly Roberto Firmino, will be hopeful they can play their last match in a red shirt at Anfield.

Unai Emery’s team, meanwhile, is also in the hunt to qualify for a place in the Europa League or Europa Conference League and will be prepared to fight for it throughout the 90 minutes plus added time.

The talented pool of players such as Jacob Ramsey, Ollie Watkins, Leon Bailey, Emi Buendia and John McGinn at Emery’s disposal can pose a threat to Liverpool’s late resurgence.

Their recent form at Villa Park has been superb, but results on the road have been patchy, with two wins, two losses and a draw.

Villa’s last five matches against Liverpool have ended in defeats, with their most memorable victory over the Reds being the thumping 7-2 league match win in 2020.

They also last won at Anfield in 2014, which would suggest another tough time for them.

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