Liverpool legend and now-Aston Villa manager Steven Gerrard will face his former side for the first time on Saturday.
Gerrard’s in-form Villa, who are 3-0-1 under his tutelage, are tasked with taking on arguably the best team in world football. And though Gerrard made 710 appearances for Liverpool as a player, he’s hoping to take three points from the Reds.
"“For everyone else, it’s a massive occasion. For me, it’s three points, it’s a big game of football and it’s 90 minutes that we need to focus on.” – Steven Gerrard"
Aston Villa are 10th in the league table with 19 points from 15 matches. Liverpool have won their last four Premier League matches, have 34 points, and are one point off leaders Manchester City.
Liverpool defeated Villa six times in their previous seven meetings with the only blemish coming on October 4, 2020, when the Villans secured a historic 7-2 win at Villa Park.
Former Liverpool players that returned to face their former club as managers have not fared well in recent history. In the previous 16 instances, former Reds were defeated 14 times, with Kevin Keegan being the only triumphant returner in 2003.
Liverpool vs. Aston Villa team news
Leon Bailey and Bertrand Traore remain out for Villa, and Morgan Sanson, who missed some training this week due to illness, was back with the group on Friday and should be available on Saturday.
Gerrard said Danny Ings is back in full training and presumably available for the Liverpool clash.
For Liverpool, Roberto Frimino has missed the last seven matches and will miss out this week as well.
Nat Phillips and Harvey Elliot are still out, while Diogo Jota’s status is unclear. Divock Origi is available.
Gerrard at Liverpool
Gerrard scored 120 times in 504 Premier League matches for Liverpool from 1998 to 2015. He is widely considered one of the best players to ever play for the club, and only two others have made more career appearances for the club.
"“I really respect and understand all the noise around the game for obvious reasons. The noise is for other people to get excited about. For me, it’s about preparing the team in the best way I can, to try and get a positive result for Aston Villa.” – Steven Gerrard"
The former midfielder notably never won the Premier League with Liverpool but captained the side to a Champions League title in 2004-05.
Additionally, Gerrard won two FA Cups, three League Cups, and one UEFA Super Cup with the Reds.
After retiring from professional football, Gerrard joined Liverpool as the U18 coach in 2017. From there, he moved to Rangers in 2018, where he found enormous success.
Aston Villa projected Starting XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Young; McGinn, Nakamba, Douglas Luiz; Buendia, J. Ramsey; Watkins
Liverpool projected Starting XI: Allison; Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Thiago; Salah, Origi, Mane
Date/time: Saturday, December 11 at 12:30 PM BST/7:30 AM EST
Referee: Stuart Attwell
TV/Streaming UK: NA
TV/Streaming US: NBCSN