How Villa could line up vs Liverpool: Grealish uncertainty, key decision for Smith

Aston Villa boss Dean Smith has a big decision ahead of him this weekend as we prepare to face Liverpool at Anfield.

After our win over Fulham last time out, confidence will be boosted as we look to put a run together to try and put ourselves in the mix for European qualification.

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Our opponents on Saturday lost in midweek against Real Madrid in the Champions League, and so Smith would have been a keen watcher to see where and how we can exploit their weaknesses. Naturally, our 7-2 win over Liverpool earlier in the season will give us hope that we can go to Merseyside and come away with a positive result.

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However, it appears as though we’ll have to try and claim a win without our influential skipper Jack Grealish, as he continues to recover from a shin injury.

The 25-year-old was expected to be involved against Fulham last time out, but having sustained a setback the day before, he wasn’t risked and failed to make the squad.

While he posted on social media this week to offer an update that he was working hard to return, there hasn’t been any talk from Smith or Villa on his condition and so the assumption for now is that he’ll miss out.

Elsewhere, Trezeguet will hope that he played his way into Smith’s starting XI after his impressive impact off the bench last time out, while Keinan Davis will also hold similar aspirations.

That aside though, there could be little in the way of changes from the XI that beat Fulham, with the backline picking itself and the midfield settled from that game. That said, away from home against Liverpool, perhaps Marvelous Nakamba could be an option instead of Morgan Sanson to offer a bit more protection in midfield.

Time will tell what Smith goes for, but ultimately it should be a fascinating encounter and one that we’ll have to be at our best in if we wish to return to B6 with a positive result.

PREDICTED XI (4-2-3-1): Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Douglas Luiz, Sanson; Traore, McGinn, Trezeguet; Watkins.