Aston Villa vs LiverpoolFA Cup, KO: 19:45 Jan 8, 2021, Villa Park
LIVERPOOL had to field a youth team at Villa Park in last season's League Cup so it's ironic that they will now face a team made up of kids when they return to the Midlands on FA Cup duty.
An outbreak at Aston Villa has ruled out most of their first team but the match will still go ahead with Dean Smith picking a squad made up mainly of players from their Under-23 side.
That has made Liverpool red-hot favourites to avenge the 7-2 thrashing they received at Villa Park back in October and get back on track after a run of three games without a win.
It will be interesting to see how strong a team Jurgen Klopp fields for this cup tie, given the Reds crashed 5-0 at Villa Park in the League Cup last term when they put out a team full of kids while the seniors were on Club World Cup duty.
Defeat at Manchester United on New Year's Day ended Aston Villa's five-game unbeaten run as my three main tips for the game all came up.
But it would be an even bigger shock than that 7-2 mauling if Smith's young side managed to avoid defeat here.
How the bookies view it
Aston Villa were as big as 12/5 with William Hill before the outbreak and are now out to 20/1 with Sporting Index. Liverpool's best price is now 2/13 with SBK but a win to nil is a decent 10/11 on SpreadEx and Betfred Exchange.
Recent head to head
Villa Park hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Liverpool of late, shipping 12 goals on their last two visits in that 7-2 loss (below) and 5-0 League Cup defeat.
But they won on six of their previous seven visits before that, including a 6-0 romp in 2014. The last FA Cup sides between the sides came in April, 2015 as Villa won 2-1 in the Midlands.
Players to watch
It's hard backing a Villa player to score as we won't know until nearer kick off who is available. Klopp will probably freshen things up due to Villa's weakened side and Takumi Minamino might come back in. The Japanese forward is 17/10 with BetVictor for anytime scorer.
Anything else catch the eye?
The last two meetings of these sides at Villa Park have produced 14 goals so you have to fancy some thrills here, especially due to Villa's problems. But over 3.5 goals is now just a best 14/19 with SportNation while even over 4.5 strikes is only 20/13 at SBK.
Over 1.5 first-half goals has come up in four of the last five meetings at Villa Park and could be worth a punt again at 13/15 with SportNation.
Liverpool could take their foot off the gas if they get a couple of goals in front so it may pay to back Villa in the handicaps. They are 10/11 at Bet365 to begin with a three-goal advantage.
This FA Cup match between Aston Villa and Liverpool will be played on Jan 8, 2021 and kick off at 19:45. Check below for our tipsters best Aston Villa vs Liverpool prediction.