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Rupert Wyman 5th Dec 2010 - 20:43

Hou's the best at Anfield

Liverpool need to win against Houllier's side if they are going to have any chance of making the top-four at the end of the season and with it, a place in the Champions League.

They go into the match against Villa on the back of a tough match in the Europa League and a last minute loss to Tottenham last weekend.

They sit in mid-table and all the talk of possible relegation is over but it is difficult to see them making much more headway in one of the most competitive, tightest Premier League seasons in years.

If they fail to make next year's Champions League, it will be difficult for them to keep hold of the Spanish duo Torres and Reina and possibly their talisman Gerrard.

Aston Villa are now managed by the former Anfield chief Houllier, he is sure to get a fantastic reception after winning five trophies, during a successful stay at the club.

The current Liverpool manager Hodgson has the common problem of being without a few of his better players, there is no Carragher or Gerrard, players recognisable from Houllier's era.

Liverpool are 4/7 to win, the draw is available at 11/4 and the Villa victory is 5/1. I feel 4/7 is too short for an inconsistent Liverpool side, who rely heavily on the likes of Gerrard and Carragher.

Early in November, Liverpool played a fairly strong side in the Europa League against Napoli at home and it took the introduction of Gerrard at half-time to lift Liverpool, lead the fight back and earn them a 2-1 home victory.

He scored a hat-trick and it was really evident that without their talisman in midfield, they are at times clueless on the ball.

I fancy the draw at 11/4, Houllier will want something from the game and would settle for a point.  Only one of the last seven meetings between these sides has ended as a home win.

However, victory over Villa will make it four successive home wins in the league for the Scousers.

Aston Villa are struggling for form but Houllier has only been there a minute, they will be disappointed to have been knocked out the Carling Cup midweek. They will attack on the break and both teams to score is a fantastic 19/20.

That is too long, Liverpool are without Carragher, Torres is back to fitness and Villa have an abundance of pace. The price will also reflect Ashley Young's one game ban that rules him out of the match.

Reina has kept ninety-nine clean sheets in one hundred and ninety-seven league matches, and he is 4/5 to keep a clean sheet. I fancy the 21/20 for the first half draw, it could be a cagey affair and both teams have immense goalkeepers that have spared their clubs' blushes this season.

Joe Cole was hailed as Liverpool's marquee signing in the Summer, he has so far struggled with injuries and he looks as if he is trying too hard to impress the Kop.

He is 7/1 to score the first goal and he is sure to make a massive impression soon. He looked rusty in the Europa League midweek and he should be sharper against Aston Villa.




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