ENGLISH FOOTBALL

Aston Villa vs Liverpool: Match Preview, team news, and prediction

Liverpool

Aston Villa beat relegation-threatened Burnley 3-1 at Turf Moor. Douglas Luiz played another 90 minutes for Aston Villa under Steven Gerrard. Moreover, this was the Brazilian’s 31st appearance in all completions for the Midlanders this season. Further on, it outlines how important the midfielder has been for Villa and Gerrard this season. Douglas Luiz has scored one and assisted three in those 31 games.

However, though he has played over 30 games for Villa this season, Gerrard wants him gone in the summer. The manager wants to cash in on Luiz and replace him with either Yves Bissouma or Kalvin Philipps. Villa even bid for Bissouma in January, only for Brighton to turn down the offer. But rather than just thinking of selling Luiz, Gerrard must squeeze the Brazilian to his full potential.

Gerrard needs to unleash Douglas Luiz

Douglas Luiz has featured regularly for Gerrard since the former Rangers manager joined Villa. It prompted many to believe that Luiz is an integral part of Gerrard’s system and that the manager wants to build upon him. Moreover, his recent start at Burnley meant Luiz has started 19 of 23 league games Gerrard has been in charge till now. Luiz signed for Aston Villa from Manchester City for a fee of £15 million in the summer of 2019. Since then, he has racked up 107 appearances for the Clarets and Blues.

In his 22 league games this season, Luiz has consistently delivered for Villa. Though a defensive midfielder, Luiz has equal contributions in both attack as well as defence. He posts a whopping 50+ numbers in interceptions, tackles attempted and aerial duels won in the league. His attacking abilities don’t fall behind as well, putting in 1.2 key passes, 2.42 shot-creating actions and pressing the opponent 17 times per 90 minutes. Those numbers stir the argument in Douglas Luiz’s favour that Gerrard needs to keep him and ‘unleash’ him.

Villa anticipating bids for Luiz as they look to rejig the squad

By now it’s no secret that Aston Villa are looking to refresh the squad under Steven Gerrard. As a result, many of the players have been transfer-listed, with Luiz being among them. Douglas Luiz has a market value of £31 million and Gerrard wants to sell the midfielder to inject the fee into the transfer budget.

Gerrard made it clear that he wants to fight for European places after being appointed as Villa’s boss. While it is true that Villa needs new and quality players if they are to match their manager’s ambitions, Douglas Luiz needs to be there in their midfield. The impact he makes for the Midlanders in the midfield has been quite crucial.

Gerrard has got an “absolute star” in Douglas Luiz at his disposal according to Arsenal legend Ian Wright. The Villa manager needs to trust the midfielder and reserve his place in the squad which he deserves. Luiz has time and time again proved his worth this season, which needs to be rewarded by Gerrard. However, reward not only with a place in the team next season, but help him further upgrade his game and thrive in the midfield.

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