Knowing what your opponent could do is a key part to waging war. Except this isn't war, this is football. Which is like war, only not. It's all very confusing.
In the interest of knowing more about Liverpool's opposition this weekend, we sat down with Robert Lintott of fellow SB Nation blog 7500 to Holte for a little Q&A session. Robert's one of the best Aston Villa writers around, so talking to him was a no-brainer. What does he have to say about the match? Read on to find out!
The Liverpool Offside: With all the flux in Villa's squad thanks to poor form, injuries, suspensions, and Paul Lambert generally being crazy, how do you see Villa approaching this match and trying to attack Liverpool's weaknesses?
Robert Lintott: Attack? That's amusing. Remember, you're talking about a club who have only scored eleven goals this season (twelve in all competitions). But, I can't see Lambert doing anything different because it's Liverpool. We'll likely go 4-3-3 and try to keep possession like we have been lately. It's been Lambert's new "thing," and given all the issues Villa have had with possession, it's kind of nifty. The problem has been getting the ball to the final third and doing anything with it. Our new signing Carles Gil (CAR-less HEEL) may slot into one of the wings of the front three, and he looks as if he's got the ability to provide some creativity. Nevertheless, he may not start and even if he does it's his first match with a new club. Anticipate a rather static, rather narrow 4-3-3 that holds the ball a lot and does nothing with it.
TLO: Speaking of Lambert, how much longer do you think he'll survive as Villa's manager, especially in the face of these fan protests against him and the club's ownership?
RL: I think he's around until at least the end of the year. He's not going to resign because he thinks he can pull this out, and Randy Lerner isn't going to fire him. I can't blame him for the former, and the latter is thanks to Lerner's own dumb decision. He gave Lambert a new four-year contract after the Liverpool match in September, and that makes him pretty much bullet-proof. Without a resignation, Lerner would be on the hook for huge compensatory damages if he fires Lambert now. None of this, mind you, is Lambert's fault. We all would have taken that contract. He's in a pretty bad position now, though. Resign and leave a ton of money on the table, or stick around and be hated. I don't love him, but I do feel for the guy.
TLO: What have you seen as the key to Aston Villa's recent (and frustrating) successes against Liverpool?
RL: Christian Benteke. For some reason, even if he looks totally disinterested elsewhere, he shows up for the Liverpool matches. If he played normally like he does against them, Villa could very easily be in the top half of the table. He's an absurdly talented striker who just looks so often as if he doesn't give a damn. If he holds true to form though, Liverpool may have to worry. He can create as well as finish and he's got enough in him to combine with a solid defense and he could win it for Villa. He won't. But he could.
Thanks to Robert for taking the time out of his day to answer our questions. He and his staff do an absolutely fantastic job of covering Aston Villa, so go check them out!