After a phenomenal result against Newcastle, Liverpool welcome Aston Villa to Anfield as they look to continue their unbeaten start to the 2023/24 season.
If it wasn't for the brilliance of Darwin Nuñez – who scored a clinical brace to beat the Magpies – Liverpool would almost certainly have lost their third game of the season, after Virgil van Dijk's red card in the 28th minute left the Reds 1-0 down with ten men and a mountain to climb.
Unlike Alexis Mac Allister's red card the week prior, Van Dijk's sending off will not be rescinded, which means the club will be without their captain and best defender against Aston Villa.
Nevertheless, Joe Gomez and Jarell Quansah were both superb when they came on against Newcastle, and Liverpool will, at least, have an extra man to defend with against Unai Emery's side.
Here's everything you need to know about the game.
DATE, KICK-OFF AND STADIUM
- Date: Sunday, 3 September 2023
- Kick-off time: 14:00 BST / 9:30 ET / 6:00 PT
- Stadium: Villa Park (42,657 capacity)
Liverpool and Aston Villa have faced one another on 201 occasions in history, with the Reds coming out on top in 101 games, drawing 41, and losing 59.
Over the past 10 fixtures between the club, Liverpool have performed exceptionally well, winning seven, drawing one and losing two (even if those losses were a 5-0 League Cup thumping against a team made up largely of Liverpool's youth, and a 7-2 Premier League defeat which is best left forgotten).
Both clubs are up there with the biggest clubs in the country, and there have been plenty of cracking games between them. Sunday's fixture will, no doubt, be one of them, with both sides enjoying positive starts to the season and looking to secure European football once again.
WHERE TO WATCH LIVERPOOL VS ASTON VILA ON TV
WHO WILL REFEREE THE CLASH
Simon Hooper will referee the match, with Adrian Holmes and Simon Long as his assistants and Tony Harrington acting as the fourth official.
Meanwhile, Darren England will be in charge of the VAR and Timothy Wood will act as his assistant.
LIVERPOOL TEAM NEWS
Liverpool will likely be without their first choice centre-back pairing as they welcome Aston Villa to Anfield on Sunday afternoon.
Van Dijk will be serving his suspension after receiving a straight red card against Newcastle last weekend, while Ibrahima Konate is still a major doubt for the game, after picking up a muscle injury and missing the clash against the Magpies.
This means Liverpool will likely start Joel Matip and Joe Gomez at the back, but with Jarell Quansah's assured cameo, Jurgen Klopp will, at least, have a third option available to pick if he sees fit.
Curtis Jones and Thiago Alcantara were another two to miss out on the match day squad last weekend, with both midfielders recovering from respective injuries. The latest news is that both players are close to returning, but their involvement will depend on training across the week.
Stefan Bajcetic is the final question mark. The teenager featured on the bench against Newcastle, after spending a long time on the sidelines. Liverpool fans will be hoping the Spaniard finally steps foot back on the pitch on Sunday, but any involvement would likely be as a substitute, as he continues to regain match fitness.
Up front, Klopp admitted Nuñez had made a pretty good case for starting against Villa, but it remains to be seen if he'll get the nod ahead of Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo.
With the summer transfer window closing on Friday, there could yet be a new name (or names) in the Liverpool squad come Sunday.
ASTON VILLA TEAM NEWS
Ahead of Sunday's game, Emery will be without an abundance of first team stars. Philippe Coutinho, Alex Moreno, and Jacob Ramsey will all miss out, while Tyrone Mings and Emi Buendia are both facing lengthy spells on the sidelines after picking up injuries earlier this season.
Meanwhile, Emi Martinez is also a doubt. The Argentinian shot stopper was substituted during Villa's 5-0 European win against Hibernian last week and subsequently missed out on last weekend's 3-1 victory against Burnley. Whether the keeper is fit enough to face Liverpool on Sunday remains to be seen.
Leander Dendoncker is another name that has been missing for Villa, with the Belgian missing the entirety of pre-season and all three opening fixtures in the Premier League. The midfielder is due to return to training this week, however, but it is doubtful that he would be fit enough to feature against the Reds.
Here's how Liverpool could start the game against Aston Villa on Sunday afternoon:
A game against an Emery side is never an easy task, and even with a plethora of injury concerns, Aston Villa have an incredibly strong squad this season.
However, Liverpool have already overcome Chelsea and Newcastle in difficult circumstances this season, and with the Anfield bounce, they should hopefully make it three wins from four.
Liverpool 3-1 Aston Villa