Stewart Downing makes his first return to Villa Park since his move to Liverpool as the Reds look to pick up another victory against Aston Villa.
Downing has under-performed since his big summer move from the Midlands whilst his Reds side have improved. The winger is still expected to be part of the squad to face his old club. Liverpool picked up a 1-0 win over QPR, but Kenny Dalglish’s side deserved a bigger scoreline. The Reds have suffered from a lack of goals so far this season and have scored only 18 goals. Liverpool boast the best defensive record in the league and will look for another clean sheet away at Villa Park. Midfielder Jay Spearing serves the second of a three game suspension for his red card against Fulham. Striker Luis Suarez is available for Dalglish after the decision over his FA charge of racism was postponed until Tuesday.
Villa picked up a vital away win against Bolton last weekend and played some of their best football of the season in the process. Alex McLeish has been criticised for his negative approach and Villa fans will be eager to see him take the game to Liverpool and test their rigid defence. Notable absentees for the Scotsman include goalkeeper Shay Given and forward Gabriel Agbonlahor, two of the bright sparks this season so far. Emile Heskey is expected to replace Agbonlahor in attack and face his former side. Fabian Delph has recovered from the knee injury that kept him out of last weekend’s win and will be back to face Liverpool.
Downing has been the main story in the run-up to this fixture and it is unknown whether the Villa fans will give a good or bad reception to their former player. The Reds winger scored the winner for Villa the last time these two sides met and should be on the winning side again as Liverpool pick up another three points in their push for Champions League qualification next season.
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