ASTON VILLA VS. LIVERPOOL
| Sunday, October 4th
| Premier League | Villa Park
7:15PM GMT/2:15PM EST
On Friday night, news that Livepool’s beloved winger, Sadio Mané, tested positive for COVID-19 rocked Reds’ fans who had otherwise been looking forward to seeing Liverpool travel to Villa Park on Sunday evening. Mané is the third Liverpool player to test positive and go into quarantine since the season began.
Nonetheless, the show must go on, and so the rest of the team remains focused on extending their perfect run in the Premier League against Aston Villa.
This is the final match before the October international break. Maintaining good momentum into the break is always very useful, especially this break where tensions will be running higher than usual due to pandemic concerns.
Aston Villa have only played two league games this season, but they’ve won both and kept two clean sheets against Fulham and Sheffield United. This is a significant change in fortunes in the early going of this season, compared to Dean Smith’s side last season when they barely escaped relegation.
New Liverpool player Diogo Jota will likely get his first Premier League start due to the absence of Mané in the line up. Jota opened his account with the team within 10 minutes of being substituted into the game against Arsenal. There will be some excitement to see how Jota slots into that attack with Salah and Firmino for 90 minutes.
Projected Liverpool Lineup (4-3-3)
Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Gomez, Van Dijk, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Fabinho, Keita; Salah, Firmino, Jota
In addition to Mané, new player Thiago Alcantara is also in quarantine from a positive COVID-19 diagnosis. Joel Matip, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Kostas Tsimikas are all injured. Captain Jordan Henderson is doubtful, but would start on the bench, if at all.
For Villa, Engels , Heaton, Wesley and Nyland will all be missing.
What the Managers Had to Say
Jurgen Klopp: “All teams got stronger with the signings they made and Villa are one of these. Other teams improved massively, so we have to improve so we can be in a similar position.”
Dean Smith: “Everybody is beatable on the day. We’ve just got beaten by a Championship team, so that proves everybody is beatable. Their cumulative record over the past two seasons is incredible with the points tally that they’ve got. Them and Manchester City have been way out ahead of everybody over the last two years.”
Referee: Martin Atkinson. Assistants: Constantine Hatzidakis, Richard West. Fourth official: David Coote. VAR: Jonathan Moss. Assistant VAR: Stephen Child.
Kickoff is set for 7:15PM GMT/2:15PM EST tomorrow, and television listings for the match can be found on LiveSoccerTV. In the meantime, we’ll be keeping you updated with all the buildup to the game, including team news as it’s released, our live matchday thread, and post-match recaps from The Liverpool Offside staff. If you want to join the discussion, sign up for an SB Nation account to have your say on the action as it happens.