Liverpool Team News, Predicted Starting XI vs. Aston Villa (FA Cup)

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Liverpool fell to Southampton in the first game of 2021, the third-straight frustrating result for the champions. The Reds are level on points with Manchester United atop the table, but United have a game in hand.

The focus shifts now to the FA Cup, where Liverpool will start the competition at Aston Villa on Friday. Liverpool’s last trip to Aston Villa saw them soundly defeated by a 7-2 margin.

Coronavirus Concerns

Concerns with positive tests in the Aston Villa squad may force the game to be postponed.

On Monday, “several” first-team players and staff on Aston Villa tested positive for COVID-19. A second round of testing later in the week produced more positive tests, and Aston Villa closed their training ground on Thursday.

As of Thursday evening, the match is still on, but if played, Aston Villa will play many academy players. Go here for more on this development

Liverpool Injuries

There isn’t much change when it comes to the Liverpool injury front.

Diogo Jota, Naby Keita and Joel Matip are all getting closer to returning, but will not be back on Friday. Liverpool also will not have the services of Kostas Tsimikas.

There were no new injuries after Monday’s loss, and every other injury is long term.

Predicted Line-up

Jurgen Klopp has never been a big fan of the domestic cups and will likely have a much changed side heading into Friday’s clash.

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In goal, Caoimhin Kelleher will start for the first time since early December. He played well in his three matches in place of an injured Alisson and has cemented himself as the No. 2 in the squad.

In defense, Klopp will likely rest Andy Robertson and Trent Alexander-Arnold. James Milner and Neco Williams will be filling in for them. Rhys Williams is likely to start at one centerback, with Fabinho or Nat Phillips at the other spot.

In the midfield, Curtis Jones and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain should get some major playing time. The other spot is more of a question mark, with all the of the players at this position needing a rest, if they can get it.

Jordan Henderson may start the game to bring some leadership, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him subbed off.

Up front, Friday will be a good chance to get minutes for Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi and Xherdan Shaqiri.

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Predicted Liverpool Line-up (4-3-3): Caoimhin Kelleher, James Milner, Fabinho, Rhys Williams, Neco Williams, Curtis Jones, Jordan Henderson, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Takumi Minamino, Divock Origi, Xherdan Shaqiri

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