Aston Villa were unable to make serious ground on their relegation rivals despite their dramatic 3-2 victory at home to QPR in their last outing, with victories for Southampton above them and Wigan below them leaving Paul Lambert’s men still in 17th place and just three points above the drop zone.
The Scot can at least head into the clash with Liverpool knowing that his side have won two out of their last three home matches, with the only defeat coming to Manchester City and only then by a slender 1-0 scoreline.
Villa’s lengthy injury list is just beginning to clear somewhat with Darren Bent, Nathan Baker and Karim El Ahmadi all back from a mixture of ankle and foot injuries, while Fabian Delph will also return from suspension. Ciaran Clark and Brett Holman could also be fit to play despite picking up shoulder and hamstring problems on international duty. However, Chris Herd, Marc Albrighton (both ankle) and Richard Dunne (groin) remain absent.
Visitors Liverpool appeared to kiss goodbye to their hopes of a place in the top four and next season’s Champions League after losing 3-1 at Southampton in their last fixture though Brendan Rodgers has still indicated signs of serious improvement of late, particularly in front of goal where the Merseysiders have been free-scoring.
Pepe Reina and Jamie Carragher are pushing for recalls after missing out on the defeat at St Mary’s but Joe Allen, Fabio Borini (both shoulder) and Martin Kelly (knee) will miss the rest of the season.
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