A title race contains many turning points and vital moments, and this fixture in 2019/20 proved to be arguably the most important of them all for Liverpool. To recap: with three minutes to go, Jurgen Klopp’s side were losing and Manchester City had just taken the lead against Southampton. With the Citizens heading to Anfield the following weekend, a win there would’ve drawn the two title challengers level on points.
Andy Robertson and Sadio Mane (ruled out for Sunday after a positive Covid test) had other ideas though, and scored late to give the Reds a 2-1 win at Villa Park. Liverpool then beat City to go nine points clear, and Pep Guardiola’s team never got any closer than that again. This time around the match between Villa and Liverpool is too early in the season to be as critical. But while it’s not a shock to see the champions with a 100 per cent record so far in 2020/21, who would’ve thought the same would be true of Dean Smith’s side?
While that might seem surprising – teams who’ve stayed up with only 35 points, as Villa did, have always gone down the following year – they have only played Sheffield United and Fulham so far. This task will be significantly more difficult. And their record in front of the Holte End offers no hope ahead of this match either. The teams who finished 2019/20 in the Premier League’s top seven all won at Villa Park, with six of Villa’s seven home victories coming against the teams who finished in the bottom nine. Whether Liverpool ultimately retain their title or not, I think we can agree they’ll be in the top seven.
The Reds’ match odds are understandably skinny, so we’ll have to look at the handicap of –1. Despite winning 14 away league games for the first time in their history last season, only six were by at least two goals. That City won more matches by that margin is not a surprise, but so did Manchester United and Southampton.
But the Reds have won their last five league meetings with Villa by an aggregate score of 15-3, and have also scored at least three times in four of their last five league matches. Even without Sadio Mane who will miss the game, the champions should have the firepower to overcome the handicap line.
The form book from 2019/20 implies the visitors could run riot in this match. Manchester City won 6-1 at Villa Park last season, while Leicester ran out 4-1 victors.
However, Liverpool’s style is more measured. They look to get ahead in games and are then happy to take time out and try to close it down. Their total of eight away wins by a one goal margin was more victories on the road than 15 of the other 19 clubs in the Premier League managed in total last season.
And their defence can usually be relied upon too. That may seem an odd claim, as Liverpool’s only clean sheet in their last eight league games came against a 10-man Chelsea side who missed a penalty.
But the one before that occurred against Villa, and they kept eight shut outs away from home in their 15 matches before the title was assured last season.
The main reason Liverpool are well placed to win this match is that their strengths align nicely with Villa’s weaknesses. Klopp’s crop were the Premier League’s top scoring side of counter attacking goals last season, and joint-top for netting in set piece situations. On the defensive charts, Villa were second and joint-third worst for conceding those two particular goal types respectively.
Indeed, the winning goal in the corresponding fixture in 2019/20 saw Sadio Mane head home a Trent Alexander-Arnold corner. Mane once scored the fastest ever Premier League hattrick against the Villans too, and would have been a good choice here had he been available.
Mohamed Salah’s not a shabby alternate choice though, is he? And especially against a team who are weak against counter attacks – only Marcus Rashford and Raul Jimenez took more shots on the break than the Egyptian last season, and Salah also nodded home a corner at Brighton towards the end of the campaign. He has the tools to cut through Villa.
Aston Villa v Liverpool Same Game Multi betting tips
- All odds are correct at the time of first publishing but are liable to change. However, all prices are bang up to date on our snazzy widgets
WHAT IS PADDY POWER’S SAME GAME MULTI?
A Same Game Multi with Paddy Power allows our punters to pick from multiple markets for a single event (across a wide range of sports) and combine two or more selections from the chosen event into one handy bet.
So, if you want an accumulator of beautiful bets from an individual match, you can now do just that! It’s just like building up a traditional accumulator really, and all that is left for you to do is sit back and enjoy the game.
Learn more about the Same Game Multi here.
- Fulham’s Tony Khan Frontrunner for Man United Director of Bullsh*t Role
- Mourinho Chased Dier After Forgetting to Replace Toilet Roll
- Get the Latest Football Tips and Previews at Paddy Power News