Having maintained their unbeaten start to the season with a remarkable fightback to beat Newcastle United, can Liverpool continue their momentum against Aston Villa? We look ahead to Sunday’s game at Anfield with our Liverpool vs Aston Villa prediction and preview.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa: The Quick Hits
- The Opta Supercomputer expects Liverpool to build on their last-gasp win at St. James’ Park, giving them a 60.1% chance of victory against Aston Villa.
- The Reds have won nine of their last 11 Premier League meetings with Villa, the exceptions being a 7-2 loss at Villa Park in October 2020 and a 1-1 draw at Anfield in May.
- Mohamed Salah has scored or assisted in 10 consecutive home Premier League games.
Jürgen Klopp’s mentality monsters are back.
The first few weeks of Liverpool’s Premier League season could have played out very differently, with the Reds going down to 10 men and falling behind against Bournemouth and Newcastle United. However, they approach Sunday’s meeting with Aston Villa still unbeaten and being tipped by some to challenge champions Manchester City.
While Liverpool were flaky and disjointed last season, the revamped Reds do not know when they are beaten. Having overcome Alexis Mac Allister’s harsh dismissal to beat Bournemouth on Matchday 2, they were again left in hot water by Virgil van Dijk’s red card on Tyneside. However, two late goals from substitute Darwin Núñez – including Liverpool’s 42nd last-minute winner in the Premier League, more than any other club – lifted them to seven points from three outings.
Since Klopp took over in 2015, Liverpool have recorded the most wins after conceding first (35) and gained the most points from losing positions (135) in the Premier League.
Núñez will hope last week’s cameo earns him a first start of the season against Villa. The Uruguayan, who managed nine league goals last term, has begun 2023-24 behind Mohamed Salah, Luis Díaz, Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo in Liverpool’s pecking order. However, since the start of last season, Núñez averages more shots (4.6) and shots on target (2.0) per 90 minutes than any other Premier League player (minimum 500 minutes played).
Should Núñez come into the lineup, he will hope for more service from Salah, who teed up last week’s winner with a delightful through ball. Salah has scored or assisted in each of his last nine Premier League appearances (four goals, seven assists in total), but the Egyptian has saved his best form for Anfield.
He has recorded a goal involvement in 10 consecutive home Premier League outings – the last player to enjoy a longer such run was Arsenal great Thierry Henry, who scored or assisted in 17 straight games at Highbury between November 2002 and October 2003.
At least one change will be required in the Liverpool defence, with Van Dijk suspended. Since the Dutchman’s 2018 arrival, Liverpool have won just 52.2% of their Premier League games without him (24/46), compared to 71.3% when he has been involved (117/164).
Fellow defender Ibrahima Konaté remains an injury doubt, so Joe Gomez could partner Joël Matip at centre-back. Wataru Endo experienced something of a baptism of fire by making his first Premier League start at Newcastle, but he could prove crucial to protecting a weakened backline.
While Liverpool’s primary aim for 2023-24 will be a return to the UEFA Champions League, Aston Villa have also been tipped to push for European qualification, having strengthened heavily in the transfer market and picked up six points from their first three matches.
Unai Emery’s men have responded superbly since their 5-1 defeat to Newcastle on the opening weekend, beating Everton 4-0 before winning 3-1 at Burnley last Sunday. They are the first top-flight side to lose their opening game by four or more goals before winning their next two since Queens Park Rangers in 1986-87.
Right-back Matty Cash scored twice at Turf Moor, with his second strike rounding off a 19-pass move from Villa – a team-high in the Premier League since Opta records began in 2006-07. Emery’s men have looked comfortable in possession this campaign, averaging 14.3 sequences of 10+ passes per Premier League game, compared to just 8.2 last season.
Moussa Diaby was also on target last week, meaning the former Bayer Leverkusen winger has scored in his first two Premier League away games. He could become just the sixth player to net on their first three road trips in the competition, with Erling Haaland the last man to do so.
Villa gave Galatasaray loanee Nicolò Zaniolo his Premier League debut from the bench at Turf Moor, and he could feature again at Anfield. Though Tyrone Mings and Emiliano Buendía are long-term absentees, FIFA World Cup winner Emiliano Martínez should return between the sticks after missing the Burnley win with a minor injury.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Head-to-Head
Liverpool have a strong recent record against Villa, winning nine of the clubs’ last 11 Premier League meetings.
Their only loss in that span was a notable one, however, with the Villans memorably triumphing 7-2 at Villa Park in October 2020.
At Anfield, only Manchester United (12) and Chelsea (seven) have earned more Premier League victories as the visiting side than Villa’s six, though they have failed to win on any of their last five league trips there.
Their only draw in that run came when the sides last faced off on the penultimate matchday of last season. Jacob Ramsey’s goal put Villa on the verge of a famous win, but Roberto Firmino scored an 89th-minute leveller on his final home outing for Liverpool to ensure the spoils were shared.
Liverpool were victorious in the teams’ other meeting last season, with midfielder Stefan Bajčetić scoring his first senior goal in a 3-1 win at Villa Park on Boxing Day 2022.
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 14 Premier League games, a run which stretches back to their 4-1 loss at Manchester City on 1 April. Klopp’s team have recorded nine wins and five draws since then.
Meanwhile, last week’s turnaround at Newcastle made them the first team to win back-to-back Premier League games while receiving a red card in each since Watford in January 2020.
Liverpool last had a player dismissed in three successive league matches in 1999, against Leicester City (David Thompson), Everton (both Sander Westerveld and Steven Gerrard) and Villa (Steve Staunton).
Villa recorded their seventh away Premier League victory under Emery last time out. Since the Spaniard took charge last November, only Manchester City (10) and Arsenal (nine) have earned more wins on their travels.
They will face a difficult task against Liverpool’s in-form frontline, however. Liverpool have scored in 13 consecutive Premier League games, with only Brighton and Hove Albion (19) and Tottenham (15) currently enjoying a longer run.
Klopp’s men have netted 43 Premier League goals since the start of March, more than any other team in the competition.
Opta Power Rankings
The Opta Power Rankings are a global team ranking system that assigns an ability score to over 13,000 domestic football teams on a scale between zero and 100, where zero is the worst-ranked team in the world and 100 is the best team in the world.
Ahead of kick-off on Friday, here is the Opta Power Ranking for both sides.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa Prediction
Despite Liverpool being weakened in defence, the Opta Supercomputer expects them to make it three wins on the spin on Sunday, giving the hosts a 60.1% chance of victory.
Villa’s chances of a win are rated at just 16.0%, with the likelihood of a draw standing at 23.9%.
Although Liverpool have started the campaign strongly, the supercomputer is pessimistic regarding their title hopes. Across 10,000 season simulations ahead of kick-off, Liverpool topped the Premier League table just 3.8% of the time, with rivals Manchester City triumphant in 93.5% of scenarios.
Villa, meanwhile, are viewed as serious European contenders. They are given a 45.6% chance of finishing in the top seven, which would at least bring qualification for the UEFA Europa Conference League.