Tim Sherwood’s Villans could wreck Liverpool’s hope of silverware this season
Liverpool have stumbled into the FA Cup semi-finals after victories over AFC Wimbledon, Crystal Palace, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers.
Hardly the most difficult set of opponents and the Reds made especially hard work of Championship opposition, needing a replay to see off the two Lancashire sides who drew original ties at Anfield.
Now Aston Villa stand between Liverpool and a likely FA Cup final date with Arsenal, with the Villans very much the underdogs despite winning at Anfield in the Premier League earlier this season.
What are the odds?
The bookies are taking few chances with their Liverpool quote and 8/13 is the best you can get about a Reds win inside ninety minutes. Which is shocking value considering Villa have only lost two of their last seven matches.
The Midlands side are as big as 5/1 to win the game and you can get 11/4 with Paddy Power that Aston Villa qualify for the FA Cup final instead of 1/3 Liverpool.
Why are Liverpool 8/13 to win the match?
Because punters like backing favourites and Liverpool + Wembley will rewind people’s minds to 1986 when the Reds had the best team in the land.
The anticipated gamble on Liverpool means that the bookies want to lay them at an artificially short price to avoid building up liabilities.
Who will be playing for Liverpool?
Martin Skrtel is a banker to return to the Liverpool defence and he’s likely to replace Dejan Lovren if Brendan Rodgers persists with a 4-4-2 formation.
Steven Gerrard is also available after suspension and we suspect room will be made for the departing captain, with Joe Allen potentially making way in the middle of the park.
Daniel Sturridge seems to have injured every part of his body this season and perhaps Jordon Ibe will continue out wide on the opposite flank to Raheem Sterling.
Ah yes, Sterling the contract rebel
Whisper it quietly, but the word on the street is that Liverpool fans don’t think Raheem is actually that good. His performance against Newcastle on Monday night epitomised a player who can jink past defenders and score goals but also miss sitters that come his way.
So what’s going to happen at Wembley?
We can’t be sure but Aston Villa have had the ideal preparation for this match by winning 1-0 at White Hart Lane and the only dampener is that Carlos Sanchez is suspended after getting a late red against Spurs.
Christian Benteke will be the in-form striker on the park and Sherwood will have noticed how shaky the Liverpool defence was on Monday night when Newcastle exerted occasional pressure.
We’re having a little dabble on Villa at big prices although the 7/5 with bet365 about Aston Villa and the Draw on the Double Chance market makes bags of appeal. It could take extra-time or even penalties to decide this one.