Aston Villa will be without captain Jack Grealish in their match against Liverpool on Saturday after the 25-year-old suffered a setback despite manager Dean Smith’s hopes he would be ready for the weekend.
“Myself and Jack were quite optimistic to get him back a bit sooner than he probably should have and he’s had a setback,” Smith told reporters at his pre-match press conference. “It will probably put him back a couple of weeks.
“He was really good in training, but he couldn’t tolerate the loading. It’s a loading injury and we have to de-load him over the next few weeks and get him back from there.
“We know it’s not a long-term injury and he will be back. We all, Jack included, probably pushed him back a little bit too quickly. We wanted him to get back and he had a little setback.”
Grealish missed the seven previous games due to a shin injury and Villa’s form has suffered as a result, though the Birmingham side still sit ninth in the Premier League despite winning just two games in their captain’s absence.
For Liverpool, meanwhile, following a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Real Madrid in Europe they know that nothing less than three points will do as they look to make up ground in the top four race.