Following wins against Sheffield United and Fulham in his opening two games of the season, Aston Villa manager Dean Smith is approaching today’s clash against Liverpool with what looks to be a mix of respect and confidence.
Last season’s fixtures between the clubs ended in losses for Villa, as they faced Jurgen Klopp’s full-strength teams; while a Carabao Cup game ended 5-0 in Villa’s favour, albeit facing a Liverpool squad composed entirely of academy youngsters.
Smith acknowledged Liverpool’s stature during his presser, saying, ”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.”
However he does not want to cave to the pressure of facing Klopp’s energetic gegenpressers, adding, ”Everybody is beatable on the day. We’ve just got beaten by a Championship team, so that proves everybody is beatable.”
“I said at the end of last season that I saw an improvement from the majority of our players and now we’ve added quality to that core of the team. Overall, I’m really pleased with where we’re at.
It will be a really tough game and they’ve had a good start to the season, but there’s no reason why we can’t feel that we’re more athletic and robust than the team that faced them last season.”
Aston Villa avoided relegation on the final day of the 2019-20 season, and have had a busy summer in the transfer market, including the addition of midfielder Ross Barkely, on loan from Chelsea.