Sunday media watch [14.02.16]
Birmingham Mail Online: Jordan Veretout has no regrets about joining bottom club Aston Villa rather than table-topping Leicester City. The Foxes were among the clubs in for Veretout when he moved from Nantes to the Premier League last summer. But the French midfielder was impressed with Villa and chose to join them ahead of their East Midlands rivals. The two clubs have headed in very different directions since then. Leicester are league leaders and mounting a strong challenge for the title, while Villa are propping up the table an battling to stay in the top flight. Speaking ahead of the clash with Liverpool at Villa Park, Veretout suggested he was satisfied with his decision.
Daily Star: Jordan Veretout is sure he made the right choice last summer - joining Aston Villa instead of Leicester! Forget the fact that Villa are rock-bottom of the Premier League, EIGHT points adrift of safety and seemingly destined for relegation to the Championship. Or that their Midlands rivals Leicester are flying at the opposite end of the table, sitting FIVE points clear at the top of the table. Because despite the glaring gulf between the two clubs, Veretout refuses to accept he would have been better off with Claudio Ranieri's Foxes this term.
Sunday Express: It's a damning statistic - Daniel Sturridge has only started 13 out of Liverpool's last 96 games. But it's one that Anfield boss Jurgen Klopp isn't losing any sleep over as the injury jinxed Liverpool striker prepares to continue his latest comeback at Aston Villa. The Klopp philosophy is always one of positivity - even when the odds seem stacked against the genial German. "The cool thing about this statistic is that it's absolutely not interesting any more. At this moment, he is in training and he has featured in one of the last two games, so that's 50 per cent. That's not bad!"
Daily Mail Online: Aston Villa boss Rémi Garde has backed Jürgen Klopp to get it right at Liverpool. Villa host Liverpool on Sunday with both managers having taken charge during the season. Klopp has won 12 of his 29 games since replacing Brendan Rodgers in October with Liverpool ninth in the Barclays Premier League ahead of the weekend's games. Garde took charge at Villa a month later and despite an inconsistent start he believes Klopp's philosophy will shine through at Anfield. 'There is no miracle. Working is the only way to change things. I remember when Jürgen Klopp arrived he said something I totally agree with,' he said.
TEAMtalk: Aston Villa manager Rémi Garde says that his team will have to be "careful and aware" of Christian Benteke when he come up against his former club on Sunday. Benteke has struggled at Liverpool since his £32.5million summer move from Villa, scoring just seven goals in 30 appearances. The Belgian striker scored 49 goals in 101 outings during a three-year spell at Villa and helped save them from relegation last season. But despite Benteke's struggles for his new club, Garde insisted he will be a danger when returning to his former club this weekend.
Birmingham Mail Online: It is surely beyond dispute that Aston Villa's last meeting with Liverpool outside of Merseyside was their best performance of 2015. Now they need to produce their best performance of 2016. It will be different to that classic FA Cup semi final victory over the Reds at Wembley last April, of course it will. There will be neither of that day's Villa goalscorers in Rémi Garde's team for a start. There will be no Christan Benteke, for the obvious reason that he now plays for the other side.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Roy Hodgson says England's striker options are "as strong as they have been" since he became England boss in 2012. Hodgson feels that Leicester's Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane of Spurs have been "a sensation" this season. The form of England and Manchester United captain Wayne Rooney is also encouraging to Hodgson.
Sky Sports: Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says he has been aware of the quality of Leicester's N'Golo Kante for a long time and even went to watch the midfielder as a youngster. However, Wenger did not sign the 24-year-old Frenchman and they will be on opposite sides in Sunday's massive Premier League showdown at the Emirates.
BBC Sport: Gary Neville was relieved to earn his first league win as Valencia manager but said there would be no celebration as he still has a big job to do. Valencia claimed their first win in 10 games under Neville with Saturday's 2-1 victory over struggling Espanyol. "I'm happy with it, but it's just one small step forward. Relief is probably a good word," said Neville, 40. "Fans and media have been within their rights to say the things they are saying. I'd have said the same."
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.