Liverpool return home to Anfield as Premier League champions for the first time to take on Aston Villa. After a huge loss to City that looked like our best starting XI was all hung over, it’s likely Klopp will make some changes. The Thursday-Sunday turn around in never fun, and with the title already done and dusted, the manager will likely opt for rotation to keep the players healthy and get some fresh faces on their extended victory tour.
Aston Villa, on the other hand, will be playing for their lives on Sunday. Dean Smith’s men have been trying to pull themselves out of the drop zone. They moved from 19th to 18th this week, and are now only one point behind Watford.
When they went to Villa Park eight months and one pandemic ago, Liverpool came from behind to score goals in the 87th and 94th minutes to clinch the three points. Hopefully those sorts of heroics won’t be necessary in this return fixture.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Milner; Keita, Henderson, Oxlade-Chamberlain; Salah, Minamino, Mané
The usually stalwart Andy Robertson looked like he needed a break against Manchester City, and James Milner is an able substitute. Oxlade-Chamberlain and Minamino both made appearances against City on Thursday and may get the call to start for this match.
Xherdan Shaqiri and Joel Matip are both out of contention for this match.
For Villa, Matt Targett is out with a hamstring problem, while Wesley, Tom Heaton, and Bjorn Engels are all long term absences.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: ““Now I can start thinking really about how we go into the Aston Villa game and make the line-up – that is what I mean when I say here is the spot where we change the things. It was always like this.”
Dean Smith: “I’ll think we will see similar to what we have seen week in, week out. They will be a little bit sore from getting beat 4-0, but we know that their attitude is going to be there. I saw it as he [Klopp] did – they had as many chances as Manchester City and their attitude was spot on. We have a chance, we made Liverpool work really hard [at Villa Park] and we were three minutes away from getting the victory ourselves.”
Referee: Paul Tierney. Assistants: Scott Ledger, Nick Hopton. Fourth official: David Coote. Replacement official: Nik Barnard. VAR: Chris Kavanagh. Assistant VAR: Dan Cook.
Kickoff is set for 4:30PM GMT/11:30AM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.