Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Premier League preview and team news

Aston Villa travel to Merseyside looking to extend their unexpectedly strong start to the season against a Liverpool side who are without Daniel Sturridge through injury.

Brendan Rodgers has had plenty to say about the chain of events which led to him being without the services of his star striker, but he does at least have Mario Balotelli, who had a strong debut at Tottenham despite misfiring in front of goal.

Fortunately for the Italian, his teammates did not, as the Reds produced a fine display to sweep Spurs aside and put their lethargic opening two showings behind them. Winning this game would provide further momentum ahead of their return to the Champions League on Tuesday.

Unbeaten in their last three visits to Anfield, Aston Villa know that they can cause Liverpool problems with their energy and dynamism, and they will be confident after picking up seven points from a possible nine. They will be pleased to have those points on the board, considering that this match begins a daunting run which sees them play all of last season’s top five in successive games.

Sturridge joins Glen Johnson and Martin Skrtel on the sidelines, while Emre Can faces six weeks out with an ankle injury. Joe Allen will be assessed after picking up a knock while playing for Wales.

The visitors are waiting on the fitness of captain Ron Vlaar, while strikers Christian Benteke and Libor Kozak are still out. Tom Cleverley could play after joining on loan from Manchester United.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Liverpool v Aston Villa

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