Villa to further halt Liverpool's title charge

Liverpool travel south to the West Midlands knowing that realistically, only a win, and an emphatic one at that, will haul them back into the Premier League title race with Manchester City. The Reds dropped points at home to Tottenham Hotspur last weekend in a 1-1 draw, and face playing legend Steven Gerrard in the home dugout in charge of an inconsistent but threatening Aston Villa side. Read our preview here:

Full Watkins

After a four game losing sequence, the hosts have rallied to take seven points from a possible nine, including a 3-1 win at Turf Moor to put Burnley back into relegation trouble on Saturday. Ollie Watkins has reached at least 10 league goals for the seventh season in a row, and with Leon Bailey out injured and Philippe Coutinho out of form, the goalscoring burden is more firmly concentrated between him and Danny Ings. Elsewhere, hugely promising midfielder Jacob Ramsey is a big doubt, which could mean Calum Chambers slots in as a more defensive-minded option to help prevent swift counters from being successful.

Keïta-ing for everyone

Jürgen Klopp cut a frustrated figure after his side were held by Spurs, bemoaning Antonio Conte's style of play. His focus though will have swiftly moved on to recovering lost ground at the top, and, with no new injury doubts and Roberto Firmino likely to be an option from the bench for at least a cameo appearance, there won't be any excuses in terms of missing personnel. Diogo Jota and Naby Keïta could both be brought into the XI to help keep things fresh. The latter tends to quietly go about his business in a well-balanced triumvirate, but he'll be key in ensuring Villa don't feel too confident in getting their own engine room forwards readily in support of their front two.

Betting tip

Gerrard is set to name an unchanged XI from the weekend's exploits and will want to guide his side to a top-half finish, which is definitely achievable with the games in hand they have over their rivals. Liverpool are of course an almighty obstacle to that, but as Spurs showed a few days ago, they're not infallible. Casumo have odds of 4.80 for a draw that will most definitely not suit Klopp's men at this late stage.

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