Aston Villa v Liverpool 13:30
– Aston Villa once again came from behind to record a vital 3-2 win over fellow strugglers QPR. Goals from Gabriel Agbonlahor, Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke saw yet more slim hope granted to Paul Lambert and his side as they battle to avoid the drop.
– Christian Benteke will be absolutely vital to Aston Villa’s hopes of staying up come the end of the season. The Belgian striker has had by far the most attempts on goal in the Villa squad (88) and has, on average, been taking just 39.3 minutes to have a shot on target.
– Similarly important will be the defensive efforts and guile of Matthew Lowton. He’s compiled an impressive 74.2% tackle success rate from 97 challenges, by far the highest in the Villa squad.
– Scottish midfielder Barry Bannan will be doing his utmost to get himself on the ball this weekend and influence the game as he has been doing so far this season. The diminutive technician has on average completed a pass in the opponent’s half once every 4.4 minutes he’s been on the field of play this season.
– Liverpool’s hopes of a top-four finish were dealt a damning blow as they fell to a 3-1 defeat away to Southampton.
– Phillippe Coutinho is showing clear signs of settling into life in the Premier League. The gifted Brazilian has complemented some of his sublime passing with 7 on target efforts on goal and 2 assists.
– Despite having his playing time limited in recent weeks, fellow starlet Raheem Sterling has still managed to accumulate some impressive statistics this season. Not only does he sit second for dribbles within the Liverpool squad (34), he remains one of the best crossers in the squad with 37.
– Although not a youngster, Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard continues to exert enormous amounts of influence. He’s racked up a mammoth 889 passes in the opponent’s half this season, along with 83 crosses and 13 assists. Liverpool will need his technique and experience whilst battling against what will be a determined Villa this weekend.