Date: 29th August 2008 at 6:14am
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Now over the past seasons matches against Villa never fill me with great excitement as there isn’t really any great rivalry between the two clubs plus add the fact that Liverpool are undefeated in 14 league and cup matches, winning nine with five drawn since Villa won at Anfield in 2001. Funnily enough the last time Villa beat us at home was Feb98 with two goals from Stan “the can” Collymore before he came to us and before he started beating Swedish weather girls up and dogging. Last seasons corresponding fixture produced a 2-1 victory for The Reds with Gerrard scoring the winner on 87mins after being assisted with a Laursen OG. Liverpool have won more points off Villa than any other Premier League side (58).

However forget the past come Sunday these impressive stats need carried on as Villa apart from the first day have lost a bit of form so I predict that this game is going to be close again as we are hardly “hot to trot” at present ourselves. The atmosphere and anticipation for this match is going to be a bit higher between the two sets of supporters due to the whole Gareth Barry transfer saga and it will be interesting to see how it affects him. WIll he either have a great game to rub it in the noses of Liverpool in a “you should have bought me” manner or will he wilt under the pressure and produce a “were glad we didn’t waste our money” performance us – time will tell.

We will stil be facing an ex Red between the posts for Villa – Brad Friedel who on his day is one of the finest goalkeepers in the league and played 31 games for us between 97 and 2000. Other match facts are if selected, Hyppia will be making his 300th appearance for The Reds and a bit less likely Finnan his 400th career start. Robbie Keane will be making his 350th League appearance and I know you wouldn’t think it by his bald head but our champions league saviour Jose Reina will be playing on his 26th birthday.

Player to watch –

Gabriel AGBONLAHOR is the top scoring Premier League player with four league and cup goals – one more than any other player. ?

AGBONLAHOR scored the second fastest hat-trick in Premier League history against Manchester City on 17 August, with three goals in eight minutes; Robbie FOWLER holds the record with his trio for Liverpool against Arsenal on 28 August 1994 netted in four minutes 33 seconds.

My prediction, same as last year 2-1 Liverpool.

Shanks Quote of The Week – “I was the best manager in Britain because I was never devious or cheated anyone. I’d break my wife’s legs if I played against her, but I’d never cheat her”.