Despite defensive issues and midfield uncertainties, Liverpool have started the new season off with an absolute bang – winning two, drawing one, and crossing off tough away trips to Newcastle and Chelsea in the process.
After a scintillating Darwin Nuñez double against Newcastle right at the death last weekend, the Reds will be hoping to continue their unbeaten run against an Unai Emery side in fine form (despite the 5-1 battering they received against the Magpies on the opening day of the season).
With Jurgen Klopp’s side in fine attacking form, and Aston Villa being riddled with injuries as of late, fans will be expecting goals and for Liverpool to make it ten points from a possible 12.
Here are a few things to look out for ahead of Sunday’s clash.
READ MORE: Liverpool vs Aston Villa – Match Preview
EYES OUT FOR RYAN GRAVENBERCH
© Proshots – Ryan Gravenberch
With this one set to go to the wire, Liverpool could have a new midfield option by Sunday.
The club have reportedly been trying to recruit the Dutchman ever since his breakout season with Ajax, with genuine interest in signing the Bayern Munich star dating as far back as April.
Klopp is a massive fan of the 21-year-old, and Gravenberch is keen to come to Merseyside in search of improved game time. At the time of writing Liverpool and Bayern are in talks over a fee.
Even if a deal is completed, it’s unlikely the Netherlands star will be in the team this Sunday, as he would need to have time to train and have his match fitness assessed by Klopp – who is known for giving players time to adapt to the challenges of the Premier League before being thrown in at the deep end.
However, we might at least get a glimpse of Gravenberch watching his new team from the stands this weekend. Fingers crossed…
READ MORE: Why Ryan Gravenberch transfer makes more sense than traditional ‘number six’ signing
A START FOR DARWIN NUÑEZ?
Despite his electric pre-season form, Nuñez has struggled for competitive minutes so far this season, with all three of his appearances thus far coming from off the bench.
That fact alone highlights how incredible an attack the Reds have at their disposal this season.
Diogo Jota and Cody Gakpo have both been preferred to Liverpool’s number nine as of late, but after his blockbuster cameo performance against Newcastle, could that be about to change against Aston Villa?
His ability to be busy has never been in question – Nuñez creates an abundance of chances and creates chaos whenever he steps on the pitch – but his finishing and end-product were often questioned last season.
Although, after two insanely clinical strikes to win Liverpool the game against the Magpies, despite being down to ten men, Nuñez is showing amazing signs of improvement, and if he plays like that every game, the Reds will have some player on their hands.
Klopp said after the game that Nuñez was fired up because of not being selected against Newcastle, and it certainly served him well, but maybe after that performance the number nine will lead the line from the off on Sunday afternoon.
READ MORE: Elite chance-getter Darwin Nuñez is in position for a big second season
WILL THE SPANIARDS BE FIT?
© ProShots – Thiago Alcantara
Two notable omissions from Liverpool’s squad so far this season are Thiago Alcantara and Stefan Bajcetic, with both spending all of pre-season in Merseyside continuing their rehabilitation programmes from their respective long-term spells on the sidelines.
Bajcetic has actually featured in a couple of match day squads this season, even though he is yet to play a single minute for the Reds, while Klopp said weeks ago that Thiago was getting close to a return.
Last week, the pair were also pictured in full Liverpool training, leading fans to believe it was only a matter of time before they saw the Spaniards in action this season.
Worryingly however, the duo were not pictured training with the squad on Wednesday afternoon, and while they may have been training individually, we can only assume they were absent yet again.
Supporters will be keeping their fingers crossed that both players are fit enough to make the match day squad against Emery’s Aston Villa, but the main priority is finally seeing the duo back on the pitch.
Whether Sunday afternoon will again come too soon remains to be seen.
A FIRST LIVERPOOL GOAL FOR ONE OF THE NEWBIES?
Alexis Mac Allister and Dominik Szoboszlai have been revelations since joining. The pair have added tenacity, pace, energy and they take responsibility in both the attacking and defensive thirds.
The only thing missing for fans to cheer about is for one – or both – to get themselves onto the scoresheet for the first time and celebrate in front of an ecstatic Anfield crowd.
READ MORE: Dominik Szoboszlai gives Liverpool midfield something not seen in years
When you have the attacking ability that Liverpool have, with five elite forwards at the club, it’s a hard to suggest that anyone else needs to add goals to their game. However in the case of Liverpool’s new number eight and ten, the quality and goalscoring ability is there in abundance and it will surely only be a matter of time before the floodgates open.
Could it be this weekend?