Steven Gerrard has made it clear his focus is on Aston Villa but he admits his side are taking on “arguably, the best team in the world right now” when they face his former club and title-chasers Liverpool on Tuesday (Villa 6/1, draw 18/5, Liverpool 4/9 – Match Result).
Some Liverpool fans will be hoping Gerrard’s connections to the Reds will mean Jurgen Klopp’s men get an easy ride at Villa Park as they look to move level on points with rivals Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table with a win.
However, Gerrard was – predictably – keen to play down any impact the clash will have on the title race and insisted his desire, as always, is just to see his own side secure victory.
“They’re a world-class team. Arguably, the best team in the world right now,” he said. “We’re well aware of the size of the challenge, but it’s exciting and I’m looking forward to it. I want to win, fiercely, and that is no different on Tuesday.
“In terms of Liverpool, the season is over 38 games and they play Aston Villa twice.”
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Liverpool dropped a potentially crucial two points when they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Tottenham on Saturday and, coupled with City’s 5-0 win over Newcastle on Sunday, it means Pep Guardiola’s men now have the clear upper hand in the title race. City are 1/9 to win the league, Liverpool are 11/2.
City know if they pick up seven points from a possible nine still on offer they will retain their top-flight crown and they will be watching on with interest when the Reds go to the West Midlands ahead of their own trip to the region on Wednesday against Wolves at Molineux.
Klopp has confirmed forward Roberto Firmino is in contention to return to the visitors’ squad following a troublesome foot injury and the German coach reported no other fresh injury worries ahead of the game but he could make changes with the FA Cup final against Chelsea to come on Saturday. Kostas Tsimikas, Joel Matip and Naby Keita are amongst the players hoping for recalls.
Gerrard, meanwhile, will be without injured trio Jacob Ramsey, Leon Bailey and Kortney Hause for the 20:00 kick-off.
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