Liverpool will travel to Villa Park to face Aston Villa on Boxing Day in the English Premier League. Both teams are separated by a margin of four points, with Liverpool having the upper hand and an extra game in hand. Unai Emery was appointed as the manager of Aston Villa, and they have a 100% record in two matches under him. Liverpool also returned to winning ways before the international break and are looking to get back into the title race after a disappointing start.
Aston Villa sits 12th in the English Premier League with five wins, three draws, and seven losses. They made a poor start to the season, and that forced the management to change the manager. Villa scored 16 goals with an average xG rate of 1.28 and conceded 22 with an average xGA rate of 1.53. The above viz shows the percentile rank of Aston Villa in comparison to other Premier League teams. It can be observed that Villa has struggled in the attacking and defensive departments. Their percentile rank is comparatively low.
Liverpool finished the runners-up on the final day last season. They started this season poorly according to their standards and have six wins, four draws, and four losses. The Reds are an attacking side and have 28 goals with an average xG rate of 2.04. The defence has conceded 17 goals with an xGA of 1.44. The above viz shows that Liverpool are a very attacking side and have a very high percentile rank in all the departments.
Liverpool’s attacking dominance and Villa’s attacking struggles
Liverpool are a very attacking side, while their opponents have struggled to create their attacks. Liverpool creates 36.93 positional attacks and 2.29 counterattacks per match. They take 15.86 shots and have an accuracy rate of 37.4%. Aston Villa, on the other hand, creates 26.2 positional attacks and 1.27 counterattacks per match. They attempt 10.67 shots with a 35% accuracy rate. The above viz shows that Liverpool carries the highest xG per shot in the league, while their opponents are way behind them.
Another reason behind Liverpool’s high attacking display is due to their penalty box entries and entries into the final third. By looking at the above benchmarking we can observe that Liverpool players like to make a lot of runs into dangerous areas and apply pressure on the opposition’s defence.
One of the concerns for Jurgen Klopp will be the conversion rate. Despite having one of the best-attacking stats, Liverpool have scored the fifth-highest number of goals. The manager will expect his players to be more clinical in this match.
Danny Ings scored a brace against Brighton before the international break, bringing his tally to five goals. The striker will carry the most threat against his former employees. He has aerial strength and can find the back of the net with ease.
Mohamed Salah will be hungry to get back into action after a long break. The Egyptian was not a part of the World Cup and his fresh legs could pose a great threat to the Villa defence. The winger has six goals and three assists to his name. He will look to add more in this match.
World Cup winner, Emi Martinez, will miss this crucial encounter.
Liverpool have injury concerns in the attack as Luis Diaz and Diogo Jota are expected to miss a few matches. Curtis Jones and Arthur are also out injured.
Both teams are on a two-match winning streak and will look to make it three in a row. Aston Villa will look to cause an upset in this match. It is a must-win match for Liverpool if they want to remain in the title race.
Visuals via TFA data viz engine