Liverpool VS Aston Villa LIVE Football Score 26/12/2022
The Reds haven’t actually played a Boxing Day match since 2019, with the Premier League fixture schedule seeing them play on the 27th in 2020 and the 28th last year. This year’s Boxing Day encounter marks Liverpool’s first league match since November 12, with the season coming to a halt for the World Cup in Qatar. A clash with Unai Emery’s Aston Villa certainly isn’t the easiest first league game back, with the Spaniard helping his new side to some impressive results before the break.
However, recent history would suggest Liverpool are usually in good shape the day after Christmas, with five wins, 15 goals scored and none conceded in their last five Boxing Day matches. Liverpool’s World Cup players should all be involved except Ibrahima Konate, who returns to training on 27 December.
Trent Alexander-Arnold and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain ought to be back after illness but James Milner and Roberto Firmino will miss the next two games. Aston Villa have lost eight of the nine most recent league meetings, with the exception being an extraordinary 7-2 home victory in October 2020.
Villa have won three of their past four league matches, including both under Unai Emery. They had only managed two victories in their final 15 attempts under Steven Gerrard (D5, L8). They can earn three consecutive Premier League home wins in a season for the first time since a run of four from August to October 2007.
However, Aston Villa have lost an unrivalled seven Boxing Day home games in the Premier League.
Emery’s only triumph in seven fixtures as a manager against Jurgen Klopp in all competitions was Sevilla’s 3-1 victory versus Liverpool in the 2016 Europa League final. With four goals in four games, Danny Ings has scored as many times as in his previous 26 league appearances.
Liverpool, in sixth, are outside the top four on Christmas Day for the first time since 2015-16 when Jurgen Klopp had been manager for only two months. The Reds have dropped 20 points in their 14 league matches this season. They only dropped 22 points in the whole of 2021-22.
They are looking to win three top-flight fixtures in a row for the first time this season. Liverpool have won five consecutive Boxing Day games by an aggregate score of 15-0 since a 2-1 defeat at Manchester City in 2013.
They can equal the top-flight record for most successive Boxing Day clean sheets: six by Manchester United from 1996 to 2001. Klopp could match Mauricio Pochettino’s Premier League record of five wins from as many Boxing Day fixtures as a manager. Mohamed Salah has scored in each of his past four starts against Aston Villa in all competitions. Joe Gomez is one short of 100 Premier League appearances.
Andrew Robertson is level with Leighton Baines as the defender with the most assists in Premier League history. They both have 53. Liverpool’s only other defeat in their past 21 Premier League visits to Villa Park came in May 2011 (W14, D5, L2). The solitary previous Boxing Day league fixture between these teams was Liverpool’s 2-1 away victory in 2001.
The goalkeeper helped Argentina celebrate World Cup success with victory over France in the final last weekend, bringing a memorable end to their quest for glory in Qatar.
Villa head coach Emery now wants Martínez to rest following the emotions of a gruelling World Cup campaign, with the Golden Glove winner expected back at Bodymoor Heath next week.
Fellow stopper Robin Olsen is expected to be fit to face the Reds, but the encounter will come too soon for midfielder Jacob Ramsey.
“We are so proud of him, he won the World Cup with his national team and it’s amazing,” said Emery at Friday’s pre-match press conference.
“I think fans of Aston Villa must be very proud of him and he is coming back next week.
“But I want him to rest now because after the big emotion, after the hard work he did, he has to have some days off to rest. Regarding the availability of Olsen, Emery added: “We are working with him and we are working with the young goalkeepers.
“The idea is to start with Olsen, he is here to replace Emiliano or to compete with him.
“He has a small problem, but I think he is going to train tomorrow as normal and if nothing changes, he is going to be ready on Monday.” Ramsey has missed four of Villa’s five mid-season fixtures due to a hamstring injury sustained during the break in domestic action.
Boss Emery says the England Under-21 midfielder will be absent for the encounter against Liverpool, but hopes to have him back in the next couple of weeks.
“His injury came before we went to Dubai, he didn’t play the friendly matches but now he is starting to train on the pitch,” said the Spaniard.
“I think he is going to be ready, maybe, in 10 days or two weeks.
“But for the match on Monday, he’s not available.
“It’s a pity for us because he was a very, very good performer before the World Cup and is an important player.”
Liverpool’s return after the World Cup didn’t go according to plan, with Manchester City ending the Reds’ EFL Cup run in the fourth round, but Jurgen Klopp’s team can bounce back on Boxing Day.
Last season’s Premier League runners-up are set to face an Aston Villa side who have looked a different proposition since Unai Emery replaced Steven Gerrard as manager. Back-to-back victories over Manchester United and Brighton have pushed them towards mid-table and they have a chance to gain revenge on Liverpool after a narrow 2-1 defeat at the end of last season.
Only one of Liverpool’s returning World Cup stars started at the Etihad Stadium on Thursday, with Darwin Nunez playing the full 90 minutes, while two others came off the bench. Klopp is expected to ring the changes ahead of a first league game in over a month, with more of those involved in Qatar returning to the fold.
After Caoimhin Kelleher kept his place in the cup XI, it’s time for Alisson to return. The Brazil keeper wasn’t thrust straight back in after his country’s World Cup elimination at the quarter-final stage but he should be ready to go at a ground where he conceded to compatriot Douglas Luiz last season.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is also expected to return on the right of the back four after illness, with Andy Robertson continuing on the left after his busy evening in Manchester. Joel Matip came through that test unscathed after returning from injury and Virgil van Dijk should be ready for a first start since Netherlands fell to Argentina in Qatar.