Competition: FA Cup semi-final – Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
Venue: Wembley Stadium – Sunday, April 19th – 15:00 BST (10:00 ET)
Match Odds: Aston Villa 9/2 – Draw 14/5 – Liverpool 8/13
Villa are shock contenders for the final as they are in a battle against relegation in the Premier League, but since the appointment of Tim Sherwood things have been on the up, and it looks like they will avoid the drop.Embed from Getty Images
The Villains come into the game off the back of a 1-0 away win at Tottenham Hotspur and Sherwood’s players are filling up with confidence.
In their run to the semi-final they have conceded just two goals, knocking out Premier League clubs, Leicester City and West Bromwich Albion and will look to prove stiff opposition against the Reds this weekend.
Liverpool are another side who have been in good form, and finally reached the semi’s after their 1-0 replay win against Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park in the last round.Embed from Getty Images
That was the second of their replay’s in the run to the semi’s, as they had a scare against Championship outfit, Bolton Wanderers earlier on in the competition, but Brendan Rodgers will be itching for some success out of this season and a place in the final will put them one step closer to a trophy.
Steven Gerrard will be itching to get to Wembley for one last time with his boyhood club and winning this game will ensure he can play in the final on his birthday before he jets off to LA Galaxy in the summer.
Aston Villa are set to be without Chris Herd and Libor Kozak for the game. Gabriel Agbonlahor is facing a late race to fitness as he was forced off last time out for Villa with a hamstring problem. Christian Benteke has come into form at the right time for the club, scoring four in his last two games and will lead the attack.Embed from Getty Images
Liverpool could be without Adam Lallana and Mamadou Sakho as they are still recovering from injury. Daniel Sturridge missed out in Liverpool’s last game but is expected to return, while captain Steven Gerrard could also return to the starting lineup after serving his suspension.
Aston Villa’s FA Cup form: W/W/W/W
Liverpool’s FA Cup form: D/W/W/D/W
Key Stat: Liverpool have won the last six FA Cup meetings between the sides without conceding a single goal. Villa did win their first ever FA Cup meeting back in 1897 though and will hope to get their second victory 118 years later.Embed from Getty Images
Key Player: Raheem Sterling – The Liverpool starlet has had another great season so far and needs to let his football do the talking in their remaining games. He seemed unfazed by the controversy surrounding his contract talks in Liverpool’s Monday night win and he can provide the difference here.
Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool – Liverpool should have the edge in this one but the Villa players can make a poor season a very good one if they are to reach the final. Expect goals in what should be a thriller.