Aston Villa vs Liverpool Preview:
Possible starting lineups:
Nyland; Elmohamady, Konsa, Hause, Taylor; Lansbury, Luiz, McGinn; Jota, Kodjia, Trezeguet
Kelleher; Hoever, Van den Berg, Clayton, Larouci; Chirivella, Dixon-Bonner, Kane; Elliott, Brewster, Longstaff
Aston Villa welcome Liverpool to Villa Park in the quarter-finals of the League Cup. It will be a strange match as the guests are without the best players. That is why Aston Villa are huge favorites in this clash. They have won this competition on five previous occasions. The last time they lifted the trophy was in 1995/96 season. The fans hope this season could be successful as their team is virtually in the semi-finals. Aston Villa have scored no less than 11 goals in three matches on route to this game, six of which came against lower-division side of Crewe. However, Dean Smith's men have also eliminated two Premier League's clubs. The Villains managed to win Brighton with 3:1 and Wolverhampton with 2:1. Jota, Conor Hourihane and Jack Grealish were scorers against the Seagulls, while Anwar El-Ghazi and Ahmed Elmohamady found the back of the net against the Wolves. But the actual league form isn't at desired level. Aston Villa are in series of three defeats. They lost 2:1 to Chelsea, lost 4:1 to Leicester and lost 2:0 to Sheffield United. Overall, they lost six of the last eight and dropped to 17th place, with only goal difference keeping them out of the bottom three. Most probably Villa will be involved into the relegation battle until the last round. For this match Smith has few injury worries. Orjan Nyland could start in goal as Jed Steer is out injured. Tyrone Mings will not be risked after missing the weekend game with Sheffield due to a hamstring injury, as well as Conor Hourihane, who continues to nurse a knock. Jonathan Kodjia is expected to lead the attack, while Neil Taylor, Ezri Konsa and Henri Lansbury could start from the first minute.
Liverpool played an excellent season. First and most important, they are leaders in the Premier League, winning all but one league match in the past four months. The Reds have a 10-point advantage to the second-placed Leicester and many believe they will become new champions. The Reds were also successful in the Champions League and secured knock-out stage by winning the first place in their group. Liverpool will face La Liga side Atletico Madrid in the first knock-out round. Jurgen Klopp's men were also good in the Carabao Cup. First they beat MK Dons with 2:0 and then beat Arsenal on penalties after the match ended with a 5:5 draw during the regular time. Most of the key players didn't play on these matches. Nevertheless, the actual situation could not be compared with any before. Liverpool will play this match with complete U-23 squad, lead by Neil Critchley. I can't remember a similar situation happened so far in some country. What is worse, some of the youngsters are traveling to Qatar, like Neco Williams and Curtis Jones. I am well aware of the fact that some youngsters that will start at Villa Park (Kelleher, Hoever, Elliott and Brewster) would have started anyway. But there is a difference as they’d probably have had Lallana, Shaqiri, Origi and Oxlade-Chamberlain to provide some much-needed experience. The absence of Jurgen Klopp on the touchline is another handicap. Finally, Rhian Brewster is rated as doubtful due to an ankle injury.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool Prediction:
Under normal circumstances, league-leaders Liverpool will be a huge favorites in this match. But these are not normal circumstances as the Reds main players are in Qatar. Aston Villa will definitely secure semi-finals, but the odds are too low. That is why I will suggest a high scoring match here. Aston Vila will heavily attack Liverpool youngsters, anything else could provoke a reaction from their own fans. The quality is on their side, no question about that. But Liverpool undoubtedly have talented youngsters. They will play without pressure, so I expect to score at least once. Of course, I expect more from Aston Villa. They scored six against Crewe, three against Brighton and two against Wolverhampton.
Aston Villa vs Liverpool Pick: Over 3.5 goals @ 1.96 with SBOBET