Defeat to the Red Devils in the EFL Cup is a trivial blot on the Spaniard’s notebook, but back-to-back successes in the top flight have allowed Aston Villa to surge to 12th place in the rankings – five points clear of the bottom three and just one adrift of a potential top-half place.
Elsewhere, the Lions played out a 2-2 draw with Brighton either side of defeats to Cardiff City and Emery’s former employers Villarreal, and the Spaniard is now aiming to make history as the first-ever Aston Villa manager to win each of his first three league matches in charge.
Only two of the hosts’ last nine Premier League games at Villa Park have ended in defeat, with the Lions prevailing in three of their last four top-flight fixtures on home soil, but Liverpool have already regained the taste for goals upon their return to competitive football.
Each of Aston Villa’s last four meetings with Liverpool has ended in defeat for the home side, who still have that barnstorming 7-2 win from October 2020 to boast about, but the Reds have otherwise won a club-record 15 Premier League matches at Villa Park.
The ever-controversial Emiliano Martinez recently became World Cup champion with Argentina and will not be available here, but the goalkeeper will receive a talking-to from Emery after his perpetual mocking of Kylian Mbappe in the Albiceleste celebrations.
Robin Olsen – assuming that he can overcome a minor unspecified problem – will therefore deputise for Villa, who remain without long-term absentee Diego Carlos, and Jacob Ramsey will take a couple of weeks to recover from a thigh problem.
Ex-Reds attacker Philippe Coutinho is touch and go with a thigh injury but was never likely to start against his former club, although Danny Ings’s brace against Brighton will benefit his chances of lining up against his previous employers.
Similarly, Liverpool are without their own World Cup representative in France’s Ibrahima Konate, who will not return to training until December 27, but Virgil van Dijk should make a timely return in the heart of defence.
On a more negative note, the injuries are piling up for Klopp once again, as James Milner (hamstring) and Roberto Firmino (calf) will miss the next couple of matches, joining Curtis Jones, Arthur, Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota on the treatment table.
Possible starting lineup:
Data will be available at kick off time or sooner.
Aston Villa = 20.4%
Draw = 21.4%
Liverpool = 58.2%
Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool
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