MX23RW : Tuesday, October 20 17:15:15| >> :60:568:568:
Oct 4, 2020 at 7.15pm UK at Villa Park
Aston VillaAston Villa
Watkins (4', 22', 39'), McGinn (35'), Barkley (55'), Grealish (66', 75')
Luiz (46'), Nakamba (90+2')
FT(HT: 4-1)
Salah (33', 60')
van Dijk (38')

Preview: Aston Villa vs. Liverpool - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and champions Liverpool, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Just four teams head into gameweek four with perfect Premier League records still intact, and at least one of those will be lost when Aston Villa host champions Liverpool at Villa Park.

Dean Smith's side have won two from two so far, while Liverpool have won their opening three outings of their first title defence for 30 years.

Match preview

Liverpool players celebrate scoring against Arsenal on September 28, 2020© Reuters

One of these teams is on the longest current unbeaten run in the Premier League - and it is not Liverpool.

Including their great escape at the end of last season, Aston Villa have now gone six top-flight matches without defeat and have won four of those - the same number of games they had won in their previous 25.

That form, in addition to some eye-catching summer transfer business, has raised optimism of more than just a relegation scrap for Villa this term.

Smith's men are the only team yet to concede this season after keeping clean sheets against Sheffield United and Fulham so far, the latter victory seeing them capitalise on some embarrassing defending to run out 3-0 winners at Craven Cottage.

Prior to the season, that was a match which had been tipped as an early relegation battle so to win it so comfortably only underlines the belief that Villa can now start to look up the table with more confidence.

Aston Villa manager Dean Smith pictured on September 24, 2020© Reuters

Needless to say, Liverpool will pose a much tougher test than Sheffield United and Fulham - the league's bottom two heading into the weekend - and Villa have not won at home against the reigning Premier League champions in their last 18 such matches stretching back to 1998 against Arsenal.

However, they have plenty of reasons to be confident and victory over the champions would see them record three consecutive Premier League wins for the first time since April 2010.

Not since 1962-63 have the Villans won their first three games of a top-flight season, and you have to go back 120 years for the one and only time they have started a season with three successive clean sheets.

The odds are firmly against them achieving any of those feats this weekend, particularly after their home defeat to Stoke City in the EFL Cup on Thursday night, but Liverpool are also coming into this match off the back of an EFL Cup exit.

A rare goalless draw between them and Arsenal took the tie to penalties at Anfield, but misses from Divock Origi and Harry Wilson allowed the Gunners to progress to the quarter-finals as Liverpool's lack of success in domestic cup competitions under Jurgen Klopp continued.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp smiles after watching his side beat Arsenal on September 28, 2020© Reuters

There can be no complaints about their success elsewhere under the German, though, and since their madcap, helter-skelter 4-3 win over Leeds United on the opening day Liverpool have been in imperious, imposing and ominous form in the league.

The Reds were dominant in victories over both Chelsea and Arsenal to stand alongside Leicester City and Merseyside rivals Everton as the only teams with maximum points from three games so far.

Another win this weekend would see them become the first team in top-flight history to win each of their opening four league games in three consecutive seasons and, while Klopp has made abundantly clear that he does not care for such records, that one would suggest that they will be every bit the force this year as they have been in the last two.

That is worrying for the rest of the league considering the ease with which they sauntered to the title last season, and one of their fondest memories from that unforgettable campaign came on their last visit to Villa Park.

The hosts led until the 87th minute in that game, but Andrew Robertson's equaliser was followed up by a stoppage-time Sadio Mane winner which sealed a key victory in their title triumph and served as a shining example of the type of win which would be the bedrock of their success.

Aston Villa Premier League form: WW
Aston Villa form (all competitions): WWWWL

Liverpool Premier League form: WWW
Liverpool form (all competitions): WWWWL

Team News

Liverpool forward Sadio Mane pictured in September 2020© Reuters

As was the case last week, Liverpool's plans have been disrupted late on by a positive coronavirus test, this time for in-form striker Sadio Mane, who will now go into self-isolation.

Mane joins Thiago Alcantara as high-profile Liverpool players to contract the virus, but Klopp is hopeful that both should be fit and firing again after the international break.

There could be better news elsewhere as Liverpool will hand a late fitness test to captain Jordan Henderson as he looks to recover from a thigh problem.

Klopp has confirmed that his skipper is "not injured anymore" but stopped short of saying he would feature this weekend, despite being included in the England squad.

In addition to Mane and Thiago, Kostas Tsimikas is also sidelined along with Joel Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah both started in midweek but Klopp made a full complement of changes otherwise and so a host of regulars such as Alisson Becker, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Andrew Robertson, Roberto Firmino and Fabinho will return for this one.

Mane has scored six goals in six Premier League games against Villa - including the division's fastest-ever hat-trick - which leaves likely replacement Diogo Jota with big shoes to fill on what would be his first top-flight start for the club.

Aston Villa could hand a debut to Chelsea loanee and former Everton man Ross Barkley following his arrival earlier this week.

Jack Grealish is also available after recovering from a dead leg, but back-up goalkeeper Orland Nyland has joined an injury list which also includes Kortney Hause, Bjorn Engels, Tom Heaton and Wesley.

Emiliano Martinez has kept clean sheets in his first two appearances for the club and has ended up on the winning side in his last two meetings with Liverpool as well.

Like their visitors, Villa made sweeping changes for their EFL Cup game in midweek and a number of regulars, including Ollie Watkins, John McGinn and Tyrone Mings, will return here.

Aston Villa possible starting lineup:
Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; McGinn, Luiz, Hourihane; Barkley, Watkins, Grealish

Liverpool possible starting lineup:
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Jota

SM words green background

We say: Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool

No fixture in Premier League history has produced more away wins than this one, and we can see another one being added to that tally here.

Villa deserve huge credit for the work they have done on and off the field so far this season, but Liverpool are a big step up from what they have faced to date and the ease with which they have beaten Chelsea and Arsenal suggests that they will make it four from four here.

The Reds have registered a whopping 61 shots in their three league games so far - already 17 more than any other side - and, while Villa are yet to concede a goal this season, that firepower may be too much for the hosts to live with.

Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Away Win:data

Video prediction

Watch the Sports Mole Football Shorts prediction for this game below:


Who will win Sunday's Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Liverpool?

Aston Vila
Aston Vila
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Thiago Alcantara in action for Liverpool on September 20, 2020
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