One of the standout fixtures in the third round of this season’s FA Cup will take place at Villa Park on Friday night as Aston Villa welcome a wounded Liverpool.
Liverpool kickstart their FA Cup campaign looking to return to winning ways against an Aston Villa side who they will be looking to get revenge on after their remarkable 7-2 defeat at Villa Park in October.
The Reds won’t have happy memories of their last visit to Birmingham, as they were beaten 7-2 on an awful night for them in October.
With this being the early stages of the competition, Liverpool are unlikely to field a full-strength lineup, especially with this game coming hot on the heels of the hectic festive period.
The Reds do need a lift in form and confidence. Since beating Crystal Palace 7-0 in mid-December, they’ve gone three games without a win, picking up only two points from those games.
Liverpool haven’t scored since Sadio Mane’s early goal against West Bromwich Albion at Anfield on 27 December. They lost 1-0 to Southampton on Monday night, with a Danny Ings goal settling the tie.
Villa are also coming off a loss. They were valiant in their performance at Old Trafford against Manchester United, but still lost 2-1.
Villa only just survived in the Premier League last season but have enjoyed an impressive 2020-21 campaign to date, picking up 26 points from their 15 matches to sit eighth in the table.
Villa have plenty of history in the FA Cup, winning the competition on seven occasions – the same as Liverpool – although their last success was back in 1957.
Smith’s side have only taken a point from their last two matches against Chelsea and Manchester United but are only three points behind fourth-placed Tottenham Hotspur with a game in hand, while they have two matches in hand over the likes of Chelsea, Southampton, Leicester City and Liverpool.
- Aston Villa have lost six of their last seven FA Cup games against Liverpool, though they did win the last such meeting between the sides in the 2015 semi-final at Wembley (2-1).
- On each of the last three occasions Liverpool have eliminated Aston Villa from the FA Cup they’ve gone on to reach the final.
- Since beating Liverpool in the 2014-15 semi-final, Aston Villa have lost their last three FA Cup games against Premier League sides by an aggregate score of 0-10.
- Liverpool have been eliminated from four of their last six FA Cup ties against fellow Premier League sides, with the two exceptions in that run both coming in third round matches against Everton.
Liverpool have won 96 of 195 previous clashes against Aston Villa, losing 59 games against the Villans in the process.
Looking over their most recent head to head clashes going back to 26/09/2015 tells us that Aston Villa have won 2 of them and Liverpool 4, with the tally of draws standing at 0. A lot of goals were also scored during this period, 30 in all at an average of 5 goals per match.
In the last two games between these two sides at Villa Park, Dean Smith’s side have scored 12 goals and conceded two.
Before the 7-2 win in October, Villa faced Liverpool in last season’s Carabao Cup quarter-final, which they won 5-0. Liverpool were forced to field a team of youngsters, with the first team away in Qatar for the Club World Cup.
This is a very, very difficult game to predict as both managers are expected to make a number of changes.
With Liverpool set to field a much-changed lineup in a competition that isn’t a high priority for them, Villa will fancy their chances.
Both sides have lost only one of their last six matches. But whereas Villa’s return of 11 points in that time represents a significant improvement in form, the nine that Liverpool have picked up is notably poorer than last season, when they swept all before them. Villa have conceded fewer goals than any team except Manchester City, while Liverpool have struggled away from home and Dean Smith’s men will fancy their chances of claiming their scalp for a second time this season.
Our Prediction: Draw @ 10.31
Source: BetInAsia Black