Blogs & Opinion


Jamie Redknapp: Attacking Liverpool will have too much for Aston Villa

Jamie Redknapp - Jamie Redknapp Posted 16th January 2014 view comments

It's an exciting time for Liverpool fans at the moment, not least because of the brand of football Brendan Rodgers' men are playing on the pitch.

When everyone's fit, Liverpool have got more attacking options than they've had in an awfully long time and in Daniel Sturridge, Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho and Raheem Sterling they have players that can win you matches.

SAS: Will Rodgers go with both Sturridge and Suarez against Villa?

SAS: Will Rodgers go with both Sturridge and Suarez against Villa?

Against Stoke on Sunday the game was getting stretched and Liverpool's attacking style left them open at times but it's great to watch and I think that's what Liverpool fans want.

For a few years under Rafa Benitez and Gerard Houllier that wasn't the case; during that time Liverpool wouldn't throw men forward like they do at the moment.

I wonder if Rodgers, deep down, would take fourth place and a Champions League spot now. My guess is he would.

Jamie Redknapp
Quotes of the week

The form of those forwards leaves Rodgers with a dilemma this weekend, though. Does he, at home against an Aston Villa side struggling for confidence (Liverpool are odds-on with Sky Bet to beat), go with both Sturridge - who scored on his return from injury at the Britannia - and Suarez?

That could mean benching Coutinho, who has done really well while Sturridge was out or replacing Jordan Henderson, who's been in great form, or maybe Lucas.

Because Liverpool aren't involved in Europe they have got the luxury of playing Saturday-Saturday or Saturday-Sunday. Although that gives players the chance to rest, recover and get ready for the next game, it also causes you a problem because you can't give everyone game time.

It's a tough decision for Rodgers but essentially it's the sort of problem he wants to have.

Liverpool have been getting good results despite Sturridge's absence and people are talking about them being in the race for the title.

That's where they should be and what Liverpool fans want - but this is unchartered territory for a lot of their players.

I wonder if Rodgers, deep down, would take fourth place and a Champions League spot now. My guess is he would.

Liverpool to secure a Champions League spot 4/6 with Sky Bet. Bet now

We all want to be successful in football and last week Samir Nasri said Liverpool are the best side City have played against this season. But, if you consider where Liverpool were at the start of this campaign, finishing in the top four, given the quality of the other teams going for a Champions League spot, would be a good achievement for them.

There's Chelsea, who have spent an awful lot of money, Manchester City, who are incredibly strong and getting better and better, an Arsenal side in a great position, Tottenham, who look like a better side under Tim Sherwood, plus Everton and Manchester United, so a Champions League spot would be a real mark of how far Liverpool have progressed this year.

Liverpool have got Arsenal, Man City and Chelsea to play at home, too, which gives them a chance of scoring some vital points over some of their fellow top four challengers. However, there's a long way to go and a lot of tough teams to overcome.

Drought

In contrast to Liverpool, who only trail Man City in the goal scoring stats, Aston Villa have scored fewer goals than any side outside of the bottom three, apart from Norwich.

A major reason behind that stat is the goal drought last season's revelation, Christian Benteke, has endured.

The Belgian finally ended his four-month wait for a goal against Arsenal last weekend - and Villa desperately need him to kick on now and start firing.Last year he was so aggressive when the ball was in the box that he was almost unplayable. This year, though, he seems to be waiting for the ball - and that's not his game.

He's a beast of a man and his work rate, desire and ability to batter opponents made him a real handful. Perhaps he needs to go back to those basics.

It's been a terrible run for a player of his quality, though. We all spoke about the great job Paul Lambert did in keeping him in the summer and that keeping hold of Benteke was his best bit of business, but if Lambert had known he was going to perform like this he'd have been happy to have sold him and got someone else in.

Villa have recruited Grant Holt on loan and, although it's not worked out for him at Wigan in the Championship, Lambert, who worked with him at Norwich, will be hoping he can add some vital experience to his young squad.

A couple of years ago people were talking about Holt playing for England - and he's certainly very good at bringing others into play - but just to have him around the dressing room will be as important as anything else.

Spark

Villa certainly need a spark from somewhere. If it wasn't for their away form, which has seen them win four out of ten, they would be dead and buried by now because their home form has been horrendous. They've dropped 25 points at Villa Park this season.

They've won four of their ten games away from home but, although they beat Liverpool 3-1 at Anfield last season I can't see them repeating that result this time around. In fact, I expect the reverse.

Jamie's backing Liverpool to beat Villa 3-1 at 10/1 with Sky Bet. Bet now

Liverpool will have too much quality and Villa centre-backs Ron Vlaar and Ciaran Clark will be having sleepless nights about facing Suarez, whether he's partnered by Sturridge or not.

They're not the only defenders who will be feeling that way this season but I can't see any way they can stop him scoring; they can't mark him tightly and match him for pace and Villa don't have someone to sit in front of the defence and stop balls being played into him.

Suarez is doing some incredible things at the moment and he can fire Liverpool to a 3-1 win this weekend.

back to top

Other Football Experts:

Latest Posts in Football:

Jeff Stelling

Jeff: I haven't missed Balotelli

Jeff Stelling hasn't missed Mario Balotelli and ponders how Brendan Rodgers will fit him in the squad....

Peter Beagrie

Beagrie's blog

Forest's form, fears for Blackpool and Will Buckley's big move up for discussion in Peter Beagrie's Q&A....

Latest News RSS feeds

Mackay offers apology

Malky Mackay has issued an official apology for sending offensive text messages during his time as Cardiff manager.

Live transfer updates

Mario Balotelli is edging closer to a move to Liverpool, West Brom sign Georgios Samaras and Tottenham eye Federico Fazio.

Premier League preview

The second weekend of the season sees Everton face Arsenal, while Man Utd will hope to recover from an opening loss.

Atletico win Spanish Super Cup

Atletico Madrid prevailed in the Spanish Super Cup as Mario Mandzukic’s goal sealed a 1-0 victory at the Vicente Calderon.

Van Gaal: I need more time

Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal has called for patience from fans looking for an instant upturn in fortunes.

Features

Time to shine

Time to shine

It started out as a rumour, quickly quashed and dismissed by most as nothing more than unfounded newspaper tittle-tattle.

Eredivisie Eye: In-form Memphis Depay can be the key man for PSV when they take on title rivals Ajax on Sunday

Eredivisie Eye: In-form Memphis Depay can be the key man for PSV when they take on title rivals Ajax on Sunday

In the Eredivisie, the battle of the title contenders can be of vital importance. As Feyenoord look back at the four point gap between them and league champions Ajax at the end of last season, they may ponder what might have been had they not lost both games to their fierce rivals.