Anfield is getting ready for yet another Premiere League clash. This Villa tie is a crunch game for Liverpool, as well as the manager Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool must win this game to stay in the hunt of top 4. The pressure is mounted on Manager Brendan Rodgers. The reliable Anfield correspondent reported next 3 games’ result will decide Rodgers’ Liverpool future. Anything less than a win won’t do for Rodgers today. Rodgers also admitted in a pre-match interview that the onus is on him. Villa boss Tim Sherwood has said ‘Rodgers could have gone on to manage Real and Liverpool are lucky to have him’.  Sarcastic from Sherwood? Maybe yes, maybe no. Mind games from Sherwood? Surely, yes.

From the practice pictures, the likely Liverpool line-up is going to be: Mignolet(GK), Can, Skrtel, Sakho (3 CENTRE BACKS), Clyne(RWB), Moreno(LWB), Milner and Lucas being the 2 CMs with Lucas mostly doing the defensive duties, Philippe Coutinho to play as CAM behind 2 strikers Daniel Sturridge and Danny Ings. Liverpool are without the services of ex-villa striker Christian Benteke, LFC captain Henderson, brazil attacker Firmino  and Croatian centre-half Dejan Lovren. Ibe, Allen, Gomez, Lallana, Teixeira, Rossiter and Origi likely to be on the bench. Liverpool probably will play 3-4-1-2.

From the practice snaps, it looks to be 4-2-3-1 for Aston Villa : Guzan(gk), Lescott and Richards (2 CBs), Amavi and Hutton being the fullbacks, Sanchez and Westwood 2 CMs and Veretout, Ayew, Gestede and Grealish being the attackers. Bunn, Bacuna, Richardson, Crespo, N’Zogbia, Clark, Traoré, Gueye likely to be the substitutes. Agbonlahor has a calf injury.

Key men:

Liverpool: For Liverpool, it has to be Coutinho. Sturridge is half-fit and the man in-form Danny Ings is less experienced in Liverpool. It will be Coutinho, the magician’s duty to dovetail behind those two and find pockets of space in the centre, dribble, play one-twos, deliver key passes and orchestrate good link-up play with the 2 strikers.

Aston Villa: For Villa, it has to be the fan favourite Grealish. Can he be the next Dennis Bergkamp? The left attacking mid with very strong crossing, passing, dribbling seems to be the lad to watch out for.

KEY BATTLE:

Sturridge and Ings vs Richards and Lescott

2 Liverpool strikers vs 2 Villa centre-halves is the battle to watch out for in this game. Richards’ physical aggression has put Sturridge into trouble in the past.

Date: Saturday 26 September,2015

Time: 3 p.m. BST , 7.30p.m IST

Venue: Anfield

TV Info: BeIn Sports(US), Star Sports 2 (India)

Live stream info: BeIn sports connect, Star Sports online stream, Firstrows.eu, Ronaldo7.net

Referee: Jonathan Moss