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Aston Villa: Unai Emery must unleash Philippe Coutinho vs Liverpool

Aston Villa return to competitive action for the first time since November as they take on Liverpool at Villa Park in the Premier League this evening.

Unai Emery only enjoyed two league matches, beating Manchester United and Brighton, prior to the break for the 2022 World Cup after taking over from Steven Gerrard and is now set for his third as he prepares his team to take on Jurgen Klopp’s Reds.

The Villans played four friendlies during the break and won one of them as they lost to Villarreal and Cardiff, beat Chelsea, and held Brighton to a 2-2 draw.

They now play host to a Liverpool side who are sitting just four points ahead of them in the Premier League table as it stands, which means that a win for Emery’s men will take them to within one point of last year’s Champions League runner-ups.

However, they head into the match without Jacob Ramsey after the Villa manager confirmed that the midfielder will not be in contention to play, saying: “His injury came before we went to Dubai, he didn’t play the friendly matches but now he is starting to train on the pitch. I think he is going to be ready, maybe, in ten days or two weeks.

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“But for the match on Monday, he’s not available. It’s a pity for us because he was a very, very good performer before the World Cup and is an important player.”

Ramsey started the club’s last Premier League match against the Seagulls before the break and Emery will now have to find a replacement for the Englishman.

Should Philippe Coutinho start?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The former Arsenal head coach must now finally unleash attacking midfielder Philippe Coutinho from the start to take the academy graduate’s place, as the Brazil international has been back in training since the middle of this month.

Steven Gerrard hailed his “magical” form last season and Liverpool striker Roberto Firmino once claimed that his international teammate has “magical powers” on the pitch.

The 69-cap Brazilian maestro has not featured for Villa since October and must now be unleashed in place of the injured Ramsey as he has the quality to be a match-winner on his day.

He is yet to register a goal contribution in six Premier League starts this season but his five goals and three assists in 16 starts, whilst averaging a Sofascore rating of 7.09, for the Villans last term proved that he still has the quality to be a difference-maker.

Coutinho has the attacking quality to produce a moment of magic, through a goal or an assist, to win matches for Villa and a clash with his former club Liverpool could be the motivation he needs to burst into life for the first time in 2022/23, which is why he should start this evening.