Liverpool v Villa stats: Confident Benteke tipped for goal surge
Villa will be looking to kick on from an encouraging second half performance against Arsenal when they face the tough trip to Anfield this weekend. WhoScored.com, who offer the largest online database for detailed football statistics, suggest why the visitors have reason for optimism despite finding themselves as the underdogs again on Saturday.
Paul Lambert's side can take confidence from the fact that they've lost just one of their last four away games against the Reds. Indeed, Villa fans have enjoyed the journey home from this particular area of the country in general, having lost just one of their last 8 games when playing on Merseyside.
In the reverse fixture this season Brendan Rodgers' side ran out 1-0 winners courtesy of an early Daniel Sturridge strike but the visitors can also take positives from that day. Liverpool scored with their only shot on target, mustering just five in total to Villa's 17, and Lambert's men had an 84% pass accuracy - their best figure in a single match this season.
In terms of the result they'll be looking to recreate a superb performance from last season's match at Anfield, with Villa running out 3-1 winners. The visitors on Saturday will hope to trouble their hosts from an attacking standpoint once again, with the Reds keeping just two clean sheets in their last 10 league matches, conceding 16 goals in that time. Villa, meanwhile, have actually conceded one fewer in the same timeframe despite a raft of defensive injuries.
One man who shone in this fixture last season was Christian Benteke, and after returning to the scoresheet on Monday night he'll be hoping to end this season just as he did the last. The Belgian scored an excellent brace in the 3-1 victory but perhaps his best moment came in the form of a sublime backheeled assist for Andi Weimann's goal. Having also scored twice in the match at Liverpool's local rivals Everton last season Merseyside has proven to be a happy hunting ground for the 23-year old.
Much has been made of Benteke's goalless streak but the Villa fans only truly saw the best of the striker in the second half of last season and will be hopeful that after his goal at Arsenal the talismanic front man can lead by example once more. As many as 14 of Benteke's 19 league goals last season came after New Year's Eve.
The Belgian only had one more league goal to his name at this stage last season (6) than he does this time around, as he went on to score 13 times in his final 15 league appearances of the previous campaign. He'll be up against a Liverpool backline that, as mentioned, have been less than watertight of late too. As many as 10 sides have conceded fewer shots than fourth placed Liverpool (275), though only four have mustered more against the Reds in a single game than Villa managed back in August.
The threat that the Reds carry at the other end is obvious. In Luis Suarez, despite the Uruguayan having scored just once in six matches against Villa, they have the league's deadliest marksman (22 goals). Villa will therefore treat this match as they have with each of their away games this season, as the counter attack has often represented the best form of defence.
Find yet more statistics on Aston Villa and the rest of the Premier League, including live in-game data and unique player and team ratings at WhoScored.com. Follow @WhoScored and their editor-in-chief @martinlaurence7 on Twitter.
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