Premier League

Liverpool-Aston Villa Preview

It does not need to look pretty, as long as Liverpool keep finding ways to get results.

The Premier League leaders aim to maintain their unbeaten status Saturday when they visit newcomers Aston Villa.

Liverpool (9-1-0) own a six-point lead over reigning champions Manchester City, but have had to work for their results within the top-flight in recent weeks. Since a 3-1 win over Newcastle United on Sept. 14, the Reds beat Chelsea 2-1, newcomers Sheffield United 1-0, rallied for a 2-1 win over Leicester, drew Manchester United and also came back to beat Spurs 2-1 last weekend.

Whilst some might look at Liverpool as potentially taking a step back, the reality is that they are still finding ways to win whilst juggling Champions League and League Cup matches. Liverpool beat Arsenal on penalties in the latter competition this week, another example of winning ugly - but still winning, no matter who is doing the hunting.

"Let's say that every season, we are smarter and smarter," centre-back Dejan Lovren told Liverpool's official website. "Definitely, we've learned from all the years before and what kind of pressure we can play (with). We are used to it. We know what we need to do."

What Liverpool need to do now is focus on Aston Villa, the same side they'll face in the next round of the League Cup.

The Villans (3-2-5), who sit 15th in the table, had won two in a row and earned at least a point in three straight contests before last weekend's 3-0 loss at Man City. Villa had totaled 11 goals in their previous four Premier League matches before being blanked by the Citizens at the Etihad.

However, Aston Villa should have some momentum after winning 2-1 over Wolves in League Cup play this week. With that result, the Villans are 3-2-0 at home over all competitions since losing their opener at Villa Park to Bournemouth on Aug. 17.

Liverpool and Aston Villa last met in the Premier League during the 2015-16 season when the Reds did the double. That featured a 6-0 Liverpool win at Villa Park.

"Another massive test for us," manager Dean Smith told Villa's official website. "Man City was a massive test, and I'm sure Liverpool won't be far behind. Really looking forward to putting my wits against (Liverpool coach) Jurgen Klopp. Really looking forward to it."

Brazilian Wesley leads Villa with four league goals, but has not scored in his last two such contests. Sadio Mane's five league goals are tied with Mo Salah for the Liverpool team lead. Mane has four goals with an assist in four matches over all competitions against the Villans.

Updated October 31, 2019