Liverpool vs Aston VillaEnglish Premier League, KO: 16:30 Jul 5, 2020, Anfield
LIVERPOOL'S first game as champions-elect was more annihilation than coronation as they slumped to a 4-0 shellacking at Man City.
As I had predicted, the title celebrations took a toll on Jurgen Klopp's men who couldn't shake off the hangovers to raise their game against the side they have dethroned as champions.
The wounded Reds, however, will be determined to bounce back immediately – and that is bad news for third-bottom strugglers Aston Villa.
Meanwhile Villa, a point adrift of safety, have the second worst away record in the division with just nine points from their 16 games. After starting back with four games in just 11 days, Dean Smith's men have had over a week to prepare for this daunting trip to Anfield and will hope that freshness will help them repel a Reds storm.
Villa's last outing ended in a 1-0 Midlands derby defeat to Wolves and extended their rotten run which now stands at just two points gained from the last eight matches. Relegation is the likeliest destination unless Smith can find a way to halt the slump.
How do the bookies view it?
Villa – who won at Anfield on their second-last visit, a 1-0 success thanks to Gabriel Agbonlahor's early strike in 2014 – are 9-1 at Ladbrokes for a victory which would rank up there among the shocks of the season.
Expect a Liverpool backlash. Losing to City was one a sore one but not entirely expected, losing to relegation fodder Villa – and squandering a 100% home record – would be downright embarrassing.
Klopp will likely shuffle his pack while resisting wholesale changes and his side should come tearing out of the blocks. The hosts to be winning at half-time and full-time appeals at 19-20 with Coral, as does the -1 handicap at 10-11 with Skybet.
Striker Sadio Mane needs to net once more to reach the 20-goal mark for the third straight season with Liverpool. The Senegal forward tends to thrive on Merseyside – he has netted in six of his last seven league games at Anfield. Back Mane to net any time at evens with BetVictor.
This English Premier League match between Liverpool and Aston Villa will be played on Jul 5, 2020 and kick off at 16:30. Check below for our tipsters best Liverpool vs Aston Villa prediction.