Liverpool predicted line-up vs Aston Villa

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Liverpool look to reach the FA Cup final for the first time since 2012 when they meet Aston Villa at Wembley on Sunday in the semi-final of the competition.

The Reds have seen of AFC Wimbledon, Bolton Wanderers, Crystal Palace and Blackburn Rovers to reach the last-four of the world's oldest cup tournament.

Brendan Rodgers is yet to win a piece of silverware since taking the helm of the Merseyside outfit in 2012 and will be desperate to add a prize to the Anfield trophy cabinet.

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It will be no easy task as Liverpool meet an in-form Aston Villa side at the home of football. 

Since Tim Sherwood took charge earlier this year, he's reversed Villa's fortunes and dragged them out of the relegation zone. A new found confidence has been added to the Villa camp, especially to Christian Benteke, who's netted six goals in his last eight Premier League games.

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It will be interesting which formation Rodgers chooses at Wembley this Sunday.

In recent months, he's favoured 3-4-3, however, in Liverpool's 2-0 win against Newcastle United last Money, the Northern Irishman reverted to 4-3-3.

At Wembley, the likelihood is that the Reds boss will revert back to playing three at the back as it's the formation that has seen his side be successful in recent months.

Martin Skrtel has missed Liverpool's last three matches due to suspension and his comeback has come at the correct time.

When the five-time European Cup winners met the Birmingham side at Villa Park last January, the Slovakia international had an excellent dual with Benteke and that will once again be the spectacle this Sunday. 

Benteke has been in excellent form, however, Skrtel kept the Belgian relatively quiet when the two side's last went head-to-head.

Emre Can played well against Newcastle but will be shifted to right centre-back and will be used to bring the ball out of the back for his side.

The question remains, who will join the pair in defence with Mamadou Sakho injured.

Dejan Lovren looked to have his early season troubles behind him against the Magpies when impressing in the opening stages of the game. However, on the stroke of half-time he hacked down Ayoze Perez and was lucky not to have conceded a penalty and his loose header almost gifted Newcastle a goal after the break.

Kolo Toure performed poorly against Arsenal two weeks ago and has reportedly had a falling out with Rodgers. Therefore, the Liverpool boss will likely show face in Lovren and a big performances could change his Anfield career.

Simon Mignolet made a top-class save to deny Benteke in January and will be on high-alert to keep out the Villa striker.

Sterling Upfront

Daniel Sturridge's injury issues continue as he looks likely to miss the game with a hip injury.

In truth, we probably won't see the best of the former Chelsea man until next season and it would be wise for him to take things easy until the end of the campaign.

Raheem Sterling scored a top-class goal against Newcastle and hit the headlines for the right reasons after a miserable few weeks of controversy.

With Liverpool lacking attacking options, the 20-year-old will once again occupy his side's most advanced role and look to fire his side into the final.

Gerrard Return

There's no denying that Steven Gerrard badly wants to win the FA Cup this season.

The Reds skipper leaves for Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the term and the final for the cup is on 30th May - Gerrard's 35th birthday.

The academy graduate daftly got himself sent-off when stamping on Ander Herrara a few weeks ago against Manchester United and, after a long injury before that incident, many will question whether he will be match-fit to play on the big pitch of Wembley.

Adam Lallana misses the game with a groin strain and it is likely that Gerrard will come straight back into the team into an advanced role.

Liverpool have missed a real leader in recent weeks and on a grand occasion, the former England captain will look to inspire his side to victory.

News emerged this week that Philippe Coutinho is up for PFA Player of the Year award and he will be desperate to show his credentials to attempt to scoop that prize.

The Brazilian should relish the massive field of Wembley and will look to twist and turn his way to create chances for his side.

Markovic Back

Jordan Ibe will miss Sunday's clash due to being cup-tied after representing Derby County earlier this season.

Ibe performed well against the North East outfit last Monday and will be missed out on the right-hand side.

Width will want to be kept and Lazar Markovic will be assigned that task.

The Serb didn't play too badly a few weeks ago against Arsenal before being replaced at half-time and, if he is aggressive, there will be plenty of room for him at Wembley.

Alberto Moreno should start at left wing-back. The Spaniard performed under-par against Manchester United and Arsenal but played with more restriction against Newcastle and similar will likely be the outcome against Villa.

Allen Benched

With just two spots up for grabs in the heart of the midfield, it's likely that Joe Allen will be dropped to the bench.

The Welshman scored his first goal for almost a year against the Magpies, however, his overall performance was ineffective and contributed little throughout apart from his goal.

Jordan Henderson has energy for days and that will be a healthy asset on Sunday as he will look to control the game from the centre of the park.

He'll be joined by Lucas, who performed well last Monday night. Given the size of the Wembley pitch, counter-attacks can happen at any given moment and the Brazilian will act as a stop-gap to counter that problem.

Predicted Line-Up

Mignolet; Can, Skrtel, Lovren; Markovic, Lucas, Henderson, Moreno; Coutinho, Gerrard; Sterling.

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Premier League
FA Cup
Steven Gerrard
Aston Villa

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