Liverpool vs Aston Villa
Sunday 22 March 2009, Anfield
Liverpool defeated Manchester United 4-1 away in their last league outing, The Reds’ second straight league win since losing 2-0 to Middlesbrough.
In their last five matches, Liverpool have won three, drawn one and lost one, earning themselves ten points from the available fifteen. They currently sit 3rd in the league, equal on points with 2nd placed Chelsea, four points behind 1st placed Manchester United and nine points clear of 4th placed Arsenal and 5th placed Aston Villa.
Liverpool will be without Phillip Degen, Daniel Agger and Yossi Benayoun, whilst Xabi Alonso is still in doubt.
Aston Villa lost 2-1 at home to Tottenham Hotspur in their last league outing, their second straight loss and fourth successive league match without a win. This has followed a run which saw Aston Villa go thirteen straight matches without a single loss.
In their last five, Aston Villa have won one, drawn one and lost three, picking up only four points from the fifteen on offer. The Villains currently sit 5th in the league, equal on points with 4th placed Arsenal and four points clear of 6th placed Everton.
Aston Villa will be without Martin Laursen until April, whilst Steve Sidwell is still a doubt.
The two sides drew 0-0 earlier this season at Villa Park, whilst last season’s Liverpool vs Aston Villa fixture saw the teams also draw 0-0.
Both teams’ fortunes have changed dramatically over the last month; January saw Liverpool go without a single win, whilst Aston Villa had not lost a league match since 9th November, 2008. Now, as it stands, Liverpool demolished reigning champions Manchester United only a week ago at Old Trafford and Villa haven’t seen a victory since the 7th February and are on a four game losing streak.
With Liverpool reinvigorated after their massive Champions League triumph over Real Madrid and Premier League win over Man Utd, the Reds have now found the confidence that had largely eluded them since the start of the new year.
Aston Villa on the other hand must be starting to suffer something of a confidence drought, with their loss to Chelsea at Villa Park starting a run that has seen them not only lose to Manchester City and Tottenham, and draw with Stoke, but also lose their prestigious top four placing and the corresponding spot in next season’s Champions League.
If this match had taken place only a month ago, Aston Villa – who at the time were holding the best away record in the league – would have likely gone into the match as the favourites to win. But with a reversal of form for both teams in recent times, Liverpool will now go into this match as heavy favourites for victory against what now looks to be a drained Aston Villa side.