Big night at Villa Park as quadruple-chasing Liverpool come to town having lost ground to City over the weekend. As always, I’d think we might take a lesson from Conte and set up to frustrate and counter. Jurgen wasn’t very happy about it, but it was effective, and I’m not sure why he thinks teams should open up for him.
Gerrard has apparently penciled in a 3-5-2, with Mings, Konsa, and Chambers, and Phil is on the bench. Probably about the last thing I expected. Will Buendia shine and give the brass something to think about? I know I’d like to see it.
I wouldn’t necessarily have thought there’d be a lot riding on this game a few weeks back. But now it kind of looks like there might be. Villa may have actually found themselves with something to play for after all…However unexpectedly.
Given Leeds’ precarious position, Bielsa’s demise comes as no real surprise and only made sense. And it will no doubt have a heavy influence on tonight’s game. Leeds desperately need something, and Jesse Marsch is convinced they’ll see the same Villa set-up that beat Brighton and Southampton. Can’t say I disagree.
His key to the game is bottling up Coutinho, of course, but that’s easier said than done if he’s on song and carries its own risks if it takes more than one player. It also means everyone else needs to help create space and options then do something with it.
Apart from Digne’s and Konsa’s absences, there are no changes to the side, suggesting the same tactics as last week. A bit harsh on Buendia, I think, but you understand not changing a winning side, and this approach isn’t leaving room for him if Philippe Coutinho is going to start. Which he is. Whether he can be more influential this week, we’ll be waiting to see. The Ings-Watkins experiment will continue, but the hybrid 4-3-3/4-4-2 is maybe not the worst idea at the moment.