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Here we go again, another season and another shot at Europe. This time around maybe a slightly more realistic shot as the confidence amongst the players seems higher and we do have some quality in the squad, albeit a squad short in numbers - but hopefully not for long. Villa finished 11th last year and ended on a high with a nine game unbeaten run and the long ball seemingly abandoned for attractive, attacking football. More of that and a bit of luck with injuries and we can be in the mix at the end of the season without doubt. The main thing to do away with is all the draws (17 last season)!

Aston Villa Team News:

Thomas Sorensen is out with an injury so Stuart Taylor will play in goal. Everyone else is fit to start.

Villa from: Taylor (GK), Barry (Captain), Cahill, Laursen, Mellberg, Delaney, Bouma, O’Halloran, Berger, Petrov, Reo-Coker, Gardner, Osbourne, Maloney, Young, Carew, Harewood, Moore, Agbonlahor

Player to watch: Martin Laursen

Barry is always consistently quality but the key man this game could well be Martin Laursen, if he can be the rock at the back, the fast lads like Young, Moore and Gabby can do the damage the other end.

Liverpool Team News:

Liverpool have no injury problems at the moment.

Liverpool from: Reina (GK), Finnan, Riise, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Agger, Sissoko, Mascherano, Alonso, Lucas, Gerrard, Benayoun, Babel, Kewell, Pennant, Voronin, Kuyt, Crouch, Torres

Player to watch: Dirk Kuyt

A quality squad so you could pick anyone but Kuyt on his day looks very handy!

Match Facts & Stats

Liverpool don't have a good record of starts in the Premiership and haven't won an opening day game since 2002 (they beat us!).

This is the sort of game that Martin Laursen recently said Villa have to go for, as he right said other teams beat the top four so why shouldn't we?

Our record isn't good of late with just four points out of a possible 27 at VP. Our last win was when Stan Collywobbles scored two (2-1 win) in 1998.

Both teams were unbeaten in pre-season (Villa 4 wins, 1 draw) (Liverpool 4 wins, 2 draws)

Form in the Premiership: Villa 8 wins, Liverpool 16 wins, Draws 6
Form v Liverpool at VP: Villa 5 wins, Liverpool 6 wins, Draws 4

Last season at VP was 0-0 in a bizarre game where Liverpool didn't turn up!

Ref Watch:

Ref Watch: Steve Bennett

Match Prediction:

Mark Lawrenson has tipped Liverpool to win 1-2.

Mystic Mug would love to start with a positive prediction but having only just dusted off his crystal ball he has decided he is sitting firmly on the fence and says a score draw.

Fancy a flutter? William Hill have a free 10 bet if you do: Click Here There odds for the game are:

Villa win: 3/1
Draw: 2/1
Liverpool win: 5/6

Luke Moore and John Carew are both 15/2 to score first, Gabby is 8/1, Young 10/1 and Barry isn't a bad bet at 14/1. I'm going for Martin Laursen though, at 50/1 I fancy a flutter!

Next Fixtures:

Newcastle v Villa (A) 18/08/2007 (5.15)

Writer:J P Fear
Date:Friday August 10 2007
Time: 9:32AM

Best of International Football News


Come on Villa, get off to a flyer!
The Fear
10/08/2007 09:36:00
Delaney fit? Are you sure? I thought he was close to retirement last week?
10/08/2007 09:44:00
Has Delaney retired, he is not in the "team photo" ????
10/08/2007 10:08:00
At home, full stadium, we need to carry on the unbeaten run from last season UTV.
10/08/2007 10:10:00
We can beat these with our confidence high. Laursen to score first is 50:1 worth a pound. ( last of the big spenders)
return of godzvilla
10/08/2007 10:21:00
Just as long as its a better game than that bloody awful 0-0 we had last season I will be happy, well, as long as villa win I will be :-)
10/08/2007 11:03:00
Mark Lawrenson has tipped Liverpool to win 1-2. Well that certainly one thing in Villas favour, Lord Lorro of Anfield tipping Liverpool to win.. A bang to right 3 points to get Villa Off to a flyer..
10/08/2007 11:50:00
also Liverpool are slow starters, would rather face them now than later in the season. Starting to get the buzz already for tomorrow, lets get off to a flyer!
The Fear
10/08/2007 12:04:00
A win would certainly lift everyone, and be the perfect boost to the squad who face some very tricky games over the opening month of the campaign. Plus three points would buy MON a little more time without further criticism being aimed at him from all quarters as he renews his attempts to bring in new faces over the course of the next week. Hopefully we'll catch Liverpool cold, but sadly I'm not over optimistic.
10/08/2007 13:36:00
Villa 3 (Moore, Carew, Barry) Liverpool 2 (Kuyt, Gerrard).
Adam Deuce
10/08/2007 13:49:00
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