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Liverpool v Villa preview: Lambert - We'll thrive in Anfield cauldron
Paul Brown on Liverpool clash.
14th Dec 2012
Liverpool v Villa preview: Lambert - We'll thrive in Anfield cauldron


Brown

Paul Lambert believes his emerging team will thrive at Anfield on Saturday.

Lambert is a big admirer of Liverpool - past and present - and believes they are on the right road under big-thinking boss Brendan Rodgers.

Anfield is known as one of the towering coliseums of football in this country, where bottle and belief are needed in abundance from opposing players.

Lambert has backed his side to show those qualities and give Liverpool a real battle in their own backyard.

He's under no illusions, however, at the size of the task facing his team with Liverpool also in fine form after coming back to beat West Ham at Upton Park on Monday.

He said: "My players will thrive on it. They will love the atmosphere and the occasion of it.

"It's a really prestigious stadium and the players who have played there, past and present, have been world-class. Arguably the greatest player to come out of Liverpool is Kenny Dalglish!

"They have won European Cups, League Championships and it is a club steeped in tradition.

"I know how hard it is going to be. They have got some great players at the minute too! Brendan has a really good side there.

"I know Brendan very well, he's a great guy and he did a brilliant job at Swansea. He's then gone to Liverpool and got them going.

"It will be a good atmosphere and something we will try and enjoy.

"We're doing really fine. The other night the lads were excellent the way they went about things but regardless of that result, Liverpool was always going to be tough.

"We've always said that it's important not to let the mood go down when you lose and we will try and keep things in perspective now we've won.

"Regardless of Tuesday, going to Anfield was always going to be difficult. But we are going to try to win it."

Lambert sends his side out at Anfield on the back of a five-match unbeaten streak, which has seen some very promising signs for the present and the future.

He's been very happy with the progress made and thinks belief is growing in both the team collective and the players as individuals.

He continued: "We've had two defeats in eleven matches, it is not too bad is it. I think people think because we are young we are not going to do this or that. They are getting the credit now they deserve because they are playing really well.

"Since the win at Sunderland we've been doing really well and I don't have a problem with performances.

"Yes, you'd like to have more points on the board but the one thing I can't argue with is the effort and the way they are playing. Only Man Utd and Man City have beaten us during that run and that shows how well we are playing at the moment.

"There are a lot of young lads, a lot of enthusiasm and energy, and we are playing with freedom which is great.

"You sense they are playing well. They have got the belief to go and win. A lot has been made of being young but they are good enough and that's the belief I have got."

One player who's certainly playing with belief and confidence is Andreas Weimann, who was the star man at Carrow Road with his two-goal salvo.

With Darren Bent injured for "several weeks" thanks to a hamstring tear and Gabby Agbonlahor a doubt for the clash too, there's a strong chance Weimann could get the nod at Anfield.

He was benched for the games against Reading, QPR and Stoke but Lambert was keen to stress this decision wasn't as a result of a negative in his previous performances.

He made it clear it was because Weimann was crying out for a rest because of the enormous amounts of energy he'd expended in that period of pitch-action.

He added: "The reason I left Andi out was because he was running himself into the ground. It wasn't a case of leaving him out through choice. I had to protect him. I never dropped him.

"I had to give him a break because his work-rate has been extremely high. The run of games he's been on, and playing in the wide right area, he has done a hell of a lot of running.

"I gave him a little break and he came on and his finishing was absolutely brilliant at Norwich.

"The one thing about Andi is that he knows where the goal is and is a natural finisher."

Let's hope he puts Liverpool to the sword on Saturday!

MATCH INFO

Liverpool v Villa
Barclays Premier League
Saturday December 14 - KO 3pm
Referee: Neil Swarbrick

AVTV DON'T MISS

Liverpool pre-match show - watch now
Gaffer's press conference - watch now
Memory match - watch now

TEAM NEWS

Darren Bent [ankle] and Ron Vlaar [calf] are both out.

Gabby Agbonlahor is a concern while Stephen Ireland has had a sickness bug these past few days but looks set to be fit for the trip to Anfield.

Enda Stevens and Joe Bennett are available after overcoming injury while Ashley Westwood is back after being cup-tied for the League Cup clash with Norwich.

COLOURS

Villa will be wearing their traditional claret and blue.

LAST TIME OUT

Liverpool 1-1 Villa
Goals: Herd, Suarez
April 7, 2012

MATCH STATS

Villa are unbeaten in four Premier League games (W1, D3).

Paul Lambert's side have kept three clean sheets in their last four league games.

Christian Benteke has scored three Premier League goals but is yet to claim one away from home.

Villa have used 26 players in the top flight this season - the equal-most alongside Tottenham.

Make sure you back the boys against Tottenham.

Match Centre

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