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Aston Villa: Emery must unleash Boubacar Kamara this evening

Unai Emery will be hoping to continue his fine start as Aston Villa manager when Liverpool are the visitors to Villa Park this evening.

The Spaniard has won his first two matches in the Premier League in his current role, and with the club embarking on a new era under the 51-year-old, a positive result tonight will further boost confidence going into 2023.

Villa will be without goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez following his World Cup heroics for Argentina, while Diego Carlos and Jacob Ramsey are out injured and will miss the clash.

The key battle could well be in midfield, and with that in mind, Emery should unleash Boubacar Kamara, as he could certainly be the game-changer against Jurgen Klopp’s men this evening.

Steven Gerrard secured the services of the 23-year-old on a free transfer during the summer, and luring the player to England was seen as a major coup for Villa.

Despite missing ten games during the early part of the campaign due to injury and returning just before the World Cup break, the Frenchman has impressed when he has played, averaging a solid rating of 6.87 from Sofascore and showing confidence on the ball by taking 55.6 touches per match.

His defensive abilities have also been on show during his nine league appearances, with the 23-year-old making 3.3 tackles and 1.7 interceptions per match while winning 5.7 duels per game, which works out as a 53% success rate.

His performances over the past year have seen Kamara rank highly compared to positional peers across Europe’s big five leagues, with the midfielder ranking in the top 15% for passes attempted, pass completion success rate, tackles and clearances, as per FBref.

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The £26m-rated talent was dubbed Villa’s “best midfielder” on the Claret & Blue podcast following their victory over Everton in August, and the statistics above certainly back up that claim.

Emery will be wary of just how much of a threat Liverpool can pose, with only four teams scoring more than their 28 Premier League goals this term.

However, by unleashing Kamara, Villa could come out on top in the midfield battle, with the Frenchman able to utilise his excellent passing skills and solid defensive ability to nullify the Reds’ midfielders.

Therefore, Emery must unleash the 23-year-old for his first competitive appearance in six weeks, as his midfield skill set could be game-changing for the Villans.