Liverpool are hunting down the top four and Aston Villa may be powerless to resist when the two teams meet this weekend.
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Liverpool vs Aston Villa predictions
Liverpool are not giving up on the Champions League without a fight.
Having reached the final of the competition three times during Jurgen Klopp’s tenure, it would be strange if the Reds were absent from Europe’s top table next season.
That remains more likely than not, but Liverpool have at least given themselves a chance after a brilliant run of form.
A 3-0 victory over Leicester City on Monday night was their seventh on the bounce, moving Liverpool to within a point of the top four.
Beating Aston Villa on Saturday and Southampton on the final day would move Liverpool onto 71 points for the season.
That means they could sneak into the top four if Newcastle United and/or Manchester United collect five points or fewer from their three remaining matches.
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The Magpies face Brighton & Hove Albion on Thursday – a match in which they could very easily come unstuck.
And while Manchester United’s run-in looks kind on paper, Erik ten Hag’s team have been on the wrong end of several surprise results this term.
However, this weekend’s clash with Aston Villa will not be easy for Liverpool. Unai Emery’s men are also fighting for a place in Europe and they will arrive on Merseyside believing they can collect all three points.
For that reason, this looks like an intriguing contest.
Liverpool vs Aston Villa betting tips
Liverpool are in their best form of the entire season and they should have enough to get past Aston Villa on Saturday.
Liverpool to win and both teams to score – 15/8 (bet365)
Aston Villa’s 1-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur last weekend moved them level on points with the north Londoners.
Emery’s side sit eighth in the standings ahead of the weekend, behind seventh-placed Spurs on goal difference alone.
Presuming Brighton go on to secure a top-six berth, the battle for England’s sole Europa Conference League qualification spot is between Villa and Tottenham.
Yet the two clubs probably view the prospect of playing in that particular tournament very differently.
For Tottenham, who participated in the knockout phase of this year’s Champions League, would likely see the Conference League as an inconvenient burden.
For Villa, though, it would represent a tangible sign of progress. This is a club which has not competed in Europe (excluding qualifiers) since 2008/09 would relish the chance to return to that stage, while Emery’s track record in continental competition would make them serious contenders to go far.
The away team will therefore give everything at Anfield and they have the potential to make life difficult for Liverpool.
Villa have scored in 21 of Emery’s 23 games in charge and they are capable of finding the net here.
But with home advantage and their superior individual quality, Liverpool should come out on top to keep their hopes of a top-four finish alive.
Draw +1 handicap – 3/1 (bet365)
For the reasons outlined above, Liverpool should expect to be pushed all the way on Saturday.
It is easy to forget now, but Aston Villa were in a precarious position when they hired Emery. A 4-0 thumping by Newcastle in their final match before the Spaniard took charge left the Villans just a point above the bottom three.
That gap now stands at 26 points, with Villa aiming for Europe instead of worrying about relegation. Had the campaign begun when Emery assumed control, his side would be fourth right now.
The former Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain head coach has improved the side in every area. Villa are scoring more goals and conceding fewer on his watch. They are also playing much better football.
Emery’s men have lost only two of their last 13 matches. Both of those defeats came recently, as Villa went down to Manchester United and Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Both matches ended 1-0, which demonstrates that Villa were still in the game right up until the final whistle.
With that in mind, Liverpool may have to make do with a one-goal margin of victory.
Mohamed Salah to score any time – 11/10 (bet365)
Given how brilliant he has been since joining Liverpool, it is rare for Mohamed Salah to break new ground in the Premier League these days.
But that is exactly what he did on Monday, registering a hat-trick of assists for the first time as Liverpool strolled past Leicester.
Despite his valuable contribution to his team’s latest triumph, Salah will have been disappointed not to get on the scoresheet himself.
The Egypt international has otherwise been in excellent form in that regard: his last eight appearances have featured seven goals.
He has been especially sharp at Anfield. Salah has scored in each of his last nine outings in front of Liverpool’s supporters. The last time he drew a blank on home soil was way back on January 21, when the Reds were held to a goalless draw by Chelsea.
Salah tends to make his mark against Aston Villa too. The forward has notched five goals in his last five games against the Birmingham-based outfit.
Two more strikes would make this Salah’s second-most productive campaign since joining Liverpool. We fancy his chances of edging closer to that achievement on Saturday – if not realising it.
How to watch Liverpool vs Aston Villa
- Location: Anfield, Liverpool, England.
- Date and time: Saturday 20 May 2023, 3pm.
- How to watch: Not being shown live in the UK.
About the author
Greg Lea is a freelance football writer from London. He predominantly covers the Premier League and has had work published by the Guardian, FourFourTwo, ESPN and others.
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