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Liverpool to continue with Fabio Borini against Aston Villa?

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Liverpool are looking to continue their unbeaten run in the Premier League when they travel to Aston Villa at the weekend.

The Reds enter the clash against the Birmingham-based side just five points behind Manchester United in fourth place, and a win would see them trail Arsenal by just a single point.

Lazar Markovic's early strike gave Brendan Rodgers's side a 1-0 victory over Sunderland last weekend at the Stadium of Light, with the away side missing plenty of golden opportunities in the first-half to increase their tally.

Villa are rooted to 12th in the top flight but hold bragging rights over the Merseyside outfit, having won 1-0 at Anfield thanks to a ninth minute Gabriel Agbonlahor goal earlier this campaign.

But it's bad news for Paul Lambert, as Liverpool have won this fixture for the last four seasons and with a few returning stars, it could potentially be a long afternoon for the Claret and Blue.

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Let's take a look at the potential starting XI.

Goalkeeper - Simon Mignolet

A clean-sheet is a confidence booster for any shot-stopper, but it will have been huge for the struggling Simon Mignolet.

The Belgian started slowly in Wearside last weekend and was rooted to his line in the early stages of the game, but crept into it and began coming to collect crosses positively and made a few good catches.

It won't happen overnight, but for Mignolet it is all about improving as each game passes by and another goal-less game with be massive for him.

Centre-back - Emre Can

Emre Can has been thriving of late and developed into one of Liverpool's most reliable players. His versatility was shown against Sunderland when adopting a number of positions, replacing Steven Gerrard, who went off injured.

It's been in the defence where the 20-year-old has been providing his services mostly, and he has become a huge fan favourite. His strength allows him to bully players off the ball and his passing and ball skills are exceptional which sees the German start attacks for his side.

Centre-back - Martin Skrtel

The Slovakian is rumoured to be in contract talks with the Reds to extend his time at Anfield and there is no reason why he won't play in the Midlands. Against the Black Cats, Marin Skrtel did not have to do all that much in the first-period, however was called upon several times after the break. He put in a solid display, making several clearances and tackles to snatch the three point in his side.

The 30-year-old will have the upmost task of marking Christian Benteke on Saturday, which is difficult for any defender. However, Skrtel thrives when getting into one-on-one battles and will relish the test.

Centre-back - Mamadou Sakho

Finally, Mamadou Sakho is coming of age. Last season, he displayed so many signs of potential, but never put the pieces of the jigsaw together.

This term, the Frenchman has improved vastly due to playing regularly and became settled at the back. His defending is now not clumsy and his passing and overall ball skills have greatly improved.

Right-wingback - Lazar Markovic

It's difficult to see why Lazar Markovic would not line-up at Villa Park.

His performance - especially in the first-half - against Sunderland was his best in a Red shirt. From the word go the Serbian international looked to attack Gus Poyet's back-four with venom and made cutting runs into the box and had plenty of success - once, he was fouled by Wes Brown, a blatant penalty not given and another he netted his first league goal.

That was followed by a sensational effort when striking the bar, doing everything right except scoring. At just 20-years-old, he has a great future at Anfield and has adopted the wingback role with ease and maturity.

Centre-midfield - Jordan Henderson

With the semi-final clash coming against Chelsea in the League Cup, it's likely that Gerrard will continue to rest his injury and be targeted for Tuesday's match.

Jordan Henderson will take the captain's armband and when leading the Liverpool side this term, he's stepped up. In the Reds' 4-1 thrashing of Swansea City, the former Sunderland man was superb, winning the ball for his side and starting attacks.

Centre-midfield - Lucas

There has been talk of late of Lucas departing for Inter Milan, however the way he's been playing in recent games there is not a chance of him leaving.

The Brazilian has been excellent sitting in-front of the defence, sweeping up and winning the ball back for his side. Against Sunderland, his performance went unnoticed by many, but he was excellent and broke so many of the opposition's attacks down.

With Henderson likely to surge forward when given the chance, the ex-Gremio man will be a gate-keeper for Liverpool and cut out any danger.

Left-wingback - Alberto Moreno

Alberto Moreno has really been thriving playing as a wingback of late and it is a position that suits his style. The Spaniard loves to bomb forwards, using his pace and power to cause havoc for the defenders. He too also is capable at the back and never forgets his defensive duties.

Attacking-midfielder - Philippe Coutinho

The Brazilian has really hit the ground running of late and will look to continue that form. His performance in the north east was once again top-notch, opening the Sunderland defence up on several occasions with ease.

Philippe Coutinho is a pivotal member of the Liverpool team and is mainly responsible for creating attacks for his side when easily gliding past defenders and hitting inch-perfect passes.

Attacking-midfielder - Raheem Sterling

After a short break, Raheem Sterling will likely come back into Rodgers starting XI. Prior to his holiday to Jamaica, the 20-year-old has been operating as the spearhead of the attack, playing as a lone striker and did so fairly well.

However, he's much better when playing a deeper role, inflicting his pace to run at defenders. The England international has been Liverpool's best player this term and his recent refreshment will bring an even more sharpness to his game.

Striker - Fabio Borini

Fabio Borini made a surprising start against Sunderland and didn't do too badly. His movement was very good, creating gaps for his team-mates to expose and was the brunt of several rash challenges.

With Mario Balotelli and Rickie Lambert not adapting to Rodgers's style of football and Daniel Sturridge still injured, the Italian is a useful replacement.

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Topics:
Football
Premier League
Liverpool
Aston Villa

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