Liverpool will aim to continue their winning start to the 2020/21 Premier League season when they take on Aston Villa on Sunday night.

Reigning Premier League champions Liverpool will be in action this Sunday for the last time before the international break when they face Aston Villa in the final match of matchday four at Villa Park.


Villa, who survived relegation by a slim margin last season, is off to a solid start to his Premier League campaign. Dean Smith's team has managed two wins out of two, first defeating Aston Villa 1-0 before following up with a sweeping 3-0 win over Sheffield United last week.


In fact, in five games in all competitions this season, the Villans have accumulated four victories, losing one. Although, the defeat came in their last match against Stoke City in the Carabao Cup.


Liverpool, meanwhile, has started defending their Premier League crown in style, racking up impressive victories against Leeds United (4-3), Chelsea (2-0), and Arsenal (3-1). Although the Reds lost their last game, a penalty shootout loss to the Gunners in the Carabao Cup, they will remain the favorites heading into Sunday's game.


The corresponding match last season saw Aston Villa almost achieve an unexpected victory, only two late goals from Andrew Robertson and Sadio Mane spoiled the party and secured a 2-1 victory for Liverpool. And before their last meeting at Villa Park, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the two teams.





Team news and tactics

Aston Villa

The good news for Aston Villa is that captain and star Jack Grealish is fit and available for the national team, having recovered from a blow. Kortney Hause is a doubt for the game, while Wesley, Tom Heaton, Orjan Nyland, and Bjorn Engels are ruled out with injuries.


You can't look past Emiliano Martinez in goal, with the former Arsenal player making a brilliant impact since joining the club earlier this summer. He will be protected by the central duo of Ezri Konsa and Tyrone Mings.


New signing Matty Cash is the obvious choice on the right-back, while Matt Targett should be on the left. The duo will have their task cut short against Liverpool forwards.


Douglas Luiz will keep the stronghold in the middle, supported by Conor Hourihane and John McGinn, who will be licensed to advance and unite in the attack phases. New signing Ross Barkley, who has come on loan from Chelsea, could get a few minutes off the bench.


Grealish is an undisputed starter on the left flank, while Trezeguet will be on the right. The duo will seek to make the most of the spaces left by offensive-minded Liverpool wingers. Leading Aston Villa's attack will be the arrival of summer, Ollie Watkins.


Probable lineup (4-3-3): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Trezeguet, Watkins, Grealish


Liverpool

Liverpool has received a new blow due to the coronavirus as Sadio Mane has tested positive and will be lost. He is the second Reds star to isolate himself after the summer signing of Thiago Alcantara. Captain Jordan Henderson is back in training, but he's unlikely to return to action on Sunday.


Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, and Kostas Tsimikas remain unavailable due to injuries. There will be wholesale changes to the side that started the cup tie midweek, starting from the goal where Alisson Becker is expected to replace Adrian.


The all-star defense duo of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Andrew Robertson should return after falling out of the cup tie and will act as key creative outlets going forward. They will flank the first-choice central defensive pair of Joe Gomez and Virgil van Dijk.


Given that Henderson is likely to return to the scheme of things, Klopp should return to the three-man midfield unit of Fabinho, Naby Keita, and Georginio Wijnaldum that impressed in the league win against Arsenal last Monday.


Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino are chosen in two of three attacking spaces. The third could fall to the summer signing of Diogo Jota, although Takumi Minamino also has a shot, having impressed this season.


Probable formation (4-3-3): Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gómez, van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Jota

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