31 Mar 2013

LFC predicted line-up vs. Villa: Defender facing axe? Winger to the bench...?

Liverpool face a tough away game against Aston Villa today, and Reds fans will be hoping that a different team turns up to the once that got hammered 3-1 at Anfield earlier in the season.

Thankfully, there are no new injuries to report after the international break, so Joe Allen aside, Brendan Rodgers will have a full squad to choose from.

Let's hope he doesn't make another catastrophic mistake along the lines of Allen's inclusion in the last game against Southampton.

In his press conference on Friday, Rodgers admitted that Liverpool missed Jamie Carragher's organisational skills against the Saints, so it seems highly likely that Martin Skrtel will be relegated to the bench to make way for Carra.

After the Slovakian's horror show against Southampton, that's probably a good idea, though it will probably push him close to the Anfield exit.

After praising him earlier this week, Rodgers surely can't leave Jordan Henderson out of the team, but his inclusion will have to be at the expense of either Downing or Coutinho, unless Lucas is on the bench again, which seems unlikely. My preferred line-up:

---------------- Reina

Johnson --- Agger --- Carra --- Enrique

--------------- Lucas

-------- Gerrard -- Henderson

Suarez ---------------------- Coutinho

-------------- Sturridge

It's tough to leave out Stewart Downing, who's scored 2 goals in the last 3 games, but Henderson's inclusion will allow Gerrard to play further up the field, which is always a good thing for the Reds. Having said that, I think it's more likely that Coutinho will make way, and Downing will start.

Villa are scrapping for their lives at the moment, and some real physical presence is required in midfielder, or we could have a repeat of the Southampton debacle, a game that saw the Saints exploit the Reds weakness in the centre of the pitch.

Luis Suarez has travelled halfway round the world this week, but hopefully he'll be on his game this afternoon after an off-day at Southampton. Villa defender Ron Vlaar is wary of the Uruguayan, and although he calls him 'one of the best players I’ve played against', he's urged his Villa team-mates to watch out:

“We have to avoid the situations so he cannot even make a dive. It is a long time ago since he did it, though, Everybody talks about his qualities and not about his diving now and I think that is what he would want as well. I think he is doing the right things at the moment"

Predicting a 2-0 win for Liverpool, Reds legend Mark Lawrenson told the BBC:

"Paul Lambert needs his team to stay in this game as long as possible but I cannot see them upsetting Liverpool again. The Reds have to forget that defeat against the Saints and push to the end of the season without worrying about setting themselves any targets"

Former Liverpool captain Tommy Smith concurs with Lawro. He told the Liverpool Echo:

"I fancy us today. Not least because Jamie Carragher will be back with all his fight, experience and leadership ability. Hopefully he’ll help shackle Benteke, who gave Martin Skrtel a torrid tim e at Anfield"

Defeat today is unthinkable, but you can never tell with this Liverpool team.

NOTE: Please stick to the Comment Policy (Click to read)


  1. Lose or win what we are fighting for? Europa league place? Better stay without it as carra said CL is gone, lfc should win today only for the pride to revenge on that shameful performance earlier at anfield vs villa, thats it otherwise we have no objectives.

  2. I stopped predicting with Liverpool a long time ago because whenever I'm pessimistic we win and when I'm optimistic we lose, so I don't know what to expect.

  3. Ha there will be at least 4 teams in the league praying for a Liverpool win today, should be a great game if the villa fans are rooting for their team. But if Liverpool get an early goal I can see them winning by 3 or 4.

  4. jaimie i like your line up but on form i would have downing starting instead of sturridge and stick suarez up front as the striker,that imo is the best side we have

  5. i agree with you JK (RELUCTANTLY) this is the team i would go with ..its a bit unfair on downing but i think its the best 11...ill put my neck out and say if rogers plays this team we will beat villa.....if he doesn't play hendo and goes for two in midfield ..we will lose...this is a real tough game villa will be fighting for there lives.....rogers is lucky allen is injured as we would have stood no chance with him playing as it happens fortune has favored him and hopefully we can get a win ...at the very least we need to finish over everton

  6. the problem is we finish the season in free fall it may effect transfer targets willingness to come ...it will be a hard sell anyway trying to get top talent to come without Cl...but no player will want to come to a club in freefall

  7. If you look at the training pictures from Friday, judging by the bibs that the players are wearing...the team will be:

    Johnson Carra Agger Enrique

    Lucas Gerrard

    Downing Shelvey Suarez


    I know Henderson deserves a game but the Jonjo selection is easy to explain; he is a Rodgers favourite, has an 'eye' for goal and has also had praise over his attitude recently. On top of this his performances for England U21's were good!

  8. Henderson starts! Interesting. I hope he convinces me at last

  9. My big hopes for next season is Downing,Carroll and Brad Jones must sell out. Downing is not creative,slow making decision and scare to tackle down contenders players.No point if he has faster of speeding but lazy to helping to defend the fortress.We can see the true character of downing when the big games.He will struggle when facing tough team and high level team.He will sinking at high pressure games.Sometimes he crossing the ball to the sea and nobody will get it.And sometimes Luis Suarez are lonely inside the penalty box without any helping from him.