I think most of us have returned to earth after last weeks fixtures against Madrid and ManU and now we must prepare for another massive game at home to Villa on Mothering Sunday. Every match from now until the end of the season is huge and we cannot let the win against ManU be squandered at the very next hurdle. I am sure you can remember back to the home win against ManU. Yea, a great result but we followed it up with a 0-0 against Stoke which was very disappointing.
Since Martin O’Neill heaped pressure on his squad by throwing their chances in the UEFA Cup to concentrate on qualifying for the Champions League they have went on a bit of a slump. I am over the moon about this as I thought it was a disgrace not honouring their place within a tournament that many other teams would have loved to be in. I think Mr O’Neill thinks Villa are bigger than the UEFA Cup so I would just love for him to only qualify for the same tournament this season as well. I am sure the Villa fans that travelled to Russia would have a few choice words about his decision as well.
However, Villa will be no pushover and we all know that on their day they have a lot of strength and especially attacking pace which is what can trouble any defense in the world. Liverpool however will be flying high in confidence and will not fear walking out on Sunday to put the only remaining unbeaten home record in the EPL on the line. We are unbeaten in 14 EPL matches against Villa with 8 wins and 6 drawn since Villa won at Anfield back in Sep 2001.
We are now undefeated in 25 home league games having won 17 and drawn eight since ManU’s 0-1 triumph at Anfield on 16 December 2007 our only defeat in 37 league games on home turf and we are looking for three EPL wins in a row which will be the first time since Sep/Octobers 5 in a row. Villa however have only won one of the last 12 league games against the so called ‘Big Four’, and won two of 39 against the quartet of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United; those defeats being home to Chelsea on 2 September 2007, and away to Arsenal on 15 November 2008. This is a records O’Neill needs to start eating into but lets hope this does not start until the visit Old Trafford next week. It is a massive two weeks for Villa as two defeats will, in my pinion put the final nail in the coffin regarding their CL Qualification dreams.
With regards to the squads Torres will be making his 50th EPL appearance for The Reds two days after his 25th birthday. He will also be facing a few ex-Reds tomorrow. Firstly he will have to get the ball past Brad Friedel who will be extending his record breaking run to 182 consecutive EPL appearances. Brad made 31 appearances for Liverpool between Dec97-Nov2000. We will then have to prevent Heskey from putting the ball in at the opposite end. The 31 year old England international made 150 league appearances and scored 39 goals for the us between March 2000 and May 2004.
Surprisingly with the attacking talent on both sides this seasons earlier fixture was a 0-0 draw away to Villa which ended our 100% start to the season. Last season corresponding fixture was also drawn 2-2 with an 88min leveller from Crouch. As stated earlier a point is of no use as I fully expect ManU to react strongly to their humiliation by thumping Fulham. I am fully confident however that we will win 2-0 with a Torres double. The man is on fire and with Martin Laurson still missing from the heart of Villa defense I think he willjust be to hot for the like of Knight to handle.
Manager Quotes of The Week
a) Home advantage gives you an advantage.
b) In a year’s time, he’s a year older.
c) The first 90 minutes are the most important.
Ex-England and Newcastle manager Bobby Robson gives us a fine and professional example of stating the obvious. Maybe he should have added another as in ” Newcastle are crap”. It’s plain to see why the Geordies love him aint it? mmmmm…
Tonka out – YNWA…