Taking to the Anfield turf for the final time in the 2022-23 Premier League season, Liverpool welcomes Aston Villa to Merseyside for Saturday afternoon’s showdown.
The Reds are seeking an eighth successive victory to remain on the coattails of the top four, while Unai Emery’s side still harbour ambitions of a spot on the continent.
- Earlier this week, it was confirmed that Roberto Firmino, Naby Keita, Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain and James Milner would depart Liverpool upon expiration of their contracts in June. Hence, tributes will be paid to the quartet for their final home game in Merseyside red.
- Klopp is optimistic that Firmino will recover from a muscular issue in time for his farewell Anfield appearance, but Keita is more uncertain, while Thiago (hip), Stefan Bajcetic (adductor) and Calvin Ramsay (knee) remain out for the long-term.
- Darwin Nunez has also joined the absentee list after a toe problem kept him out of the win over Leicester, but soon-to-be free agent Firmino would expect to temporarily demote the Uruguayan in the pecking order either way – a spot on the bench and emotional cameo role will await the former if he can prove his fitness in time.
- In contrast to his compatriot, Firmino’s international teammate Phillipe Coutinho will miss out on a reunion with his former club after picking up an unspecified injury. But the former Reds attacker would have only made the bench either way.
- With Matty Cash returning to the matchday squad versus Tottenham after shaking off a calf problem, backup goalkeeper Jed Steer – who is out for the season with a calf injury of his own – will be the Lions’ only other injury absentee for the trip to Anfield. Calum Chambers is expected to travel despite a recent illness.
- Despite last week’s victory, would not be a shock to see Boubacar Kamara reintroduced into the fray for a touch of midfield steel, in turn pushing Leon Bailey out of the XI as John McGinn takes up a wide role.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Konate, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Jones; Salah, Gakpo, Diaz
Aston Villa: Martinez; Young, Konsa, Mings, Moreno; Ramsey, Kamara, Luiz, McGinn; Buendia, Watkins
With their goalscoring powers on the road starting to wane, Villa will travel to Merseyside in hope rather than expectation against a Liverpool side who have proven adept in shutting up shop over the past few weeks.
Emery’s men certainly command plenty of respect from their Anfield adversaries, but we cannot envisage any other result than a routine success for Klopp’s Champions League-chasing crop.
Our prediction is Liverpool 2-0 Aston Villa