Aston Villa vs. Liverpool: Complete Premier League Preview

Mikhail TurnerContributor IIIMarch 28, 2013

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 10:  Christian Benteke of Villa celebrates scoring a penalty to make it 1-0 during the Barclays Premier League match between Aston Villa and West Ham United at Villa Park on February 10, 2013 in Birmingham, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)
Michael Regan/Getty Images

One important fixture when the Premier League returns this weekend will be Aston Villa's game against Liverpool.

Both sides have a lot to fight for, with Villa trying to stay away from relegation and Liverpool hoping to land in a European spot.  

The last time these teams met in December, it was Villa who ran out 3-1 winners.

Here is a complete preview of the match with the latest team news and projected lineups.


Aston Villa Team and Injury News

There's a reason why the Villans are relegation contenders at the moment. Their home form has been poor, as they've only picked up four wins, four draws and seven losses so far this season.

Their form during the last five games includes three wins and two losses.

The two losses weren't bad ones though, as they came away at Arsenal and at home versus Manchester City.

Things aren't good on the injury front heading into Sunday's game, though, with a few long-term injuries, and some late injury doubts (via FantasyFootballScout).

Ciaran Clark and Brett Holman are the players who may be late decisions for the game on Sunday.

Those on the long-term injury list include important players such as Stilian Petrov and Richard Dunne.

Villa boss, Paul Lambert, will likely re-use the same lineup that brought the team a 3-2 win over QPR. 

Aston Villa Projected Lineup(4-1-4-1): Brad Guzan; Matthew Lowton, Ron Vlaar, Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Yacouba Sylla, Ashley Westwood, Barry Bannan, Andreas Weimann; Christian Benteke


Liverpool Team and Injury News

Liverpool have, to some extent, steadied the ship in recent weeks. The Reds still won't like being in seventh place, but it's marked improvement on their early season position.

Their away form this season hasn't been particularly good or bad, as they have four wins, six draws and five losses.

Liverpool has three wins and two losses in their last five games. 

The losses to Southampton and Manchester City during that time would've seen the Reds in fifth place, but there's still time to make a good run.

In terms of injuries, Liverpool is in much better shape than their opponents heading into the game (via FantasyFootballScout).

Brendan Rodgers will have an almost full squad to choose from with only Joe Allen, Fabio Borini and Martin Kelly as absentees.

The same team that played against Southampton will try to get the club back on track as the season comes to a close.

Liverpool Projected Lineup(4-2-3-1): Pepe Reina; Glen Johnson, Martin Skrtel, Daniel Agger, Jose Enrique; Steven Gerrard, Lucas Leiva; Stewart Downing, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho; Daniel Sturridge


Players to Watch

Aston Villa: Christian Benteke

The powerful Belgian forward has taken the Premier League by storm in his debut season, and Liverpool know how good he can be. 

He scored two goals and assisted on one the last time these teams met.

Benteke has 17 goals and eight assists in all competitions for Villa this season.


Liverpool: Luis Suarez

Luis Suarez is having his best season for Liverpool by far.

In his last five games before the international break, including a Europa League encounter against Zenit St. Petersburg, he scored seven goals.

The goal-scoring burden isn't all his to bear anymore, but Villa will have to be wary of a player who can hurt them with his movement and creativity.



*Unless otherwise stated all statistics courtesy of ESPN Soccernet