Each outfit will be looking to make a resounding return after an absence of action for several weeks due to the World Cup in Qatar, with Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool among those desperate to kick back into life with plenty of vigour.
Having spluttered their way across the campaign for large dreary spells this year, Liverpool have fallen from their pedestal at the forefront of the division and now languish in sixth place in the league with just six wins from 14 matches, 15 points behind high-flying table-toppers Arsenal.
And now Aston Villa await at Villa Park, and with Unai Emery now at the helm, the Reds will need to exhibit the very best of their qualities in order to sink a side that have won three of their past four contests in the division, and Trent Alexander-Arnold will be vital in this push for three points.
Liverpool’s ball-pinging, defence-splitting maestro of a full-back has been beset with a string of issues this season, failing to find form and often at the epicentre of the defensive criticism that has clung to Liverpool like a fly in sweltering heat.
Consequently, this has affected the 24-year-old’s general play, with the prolific playmaker failing to clinch a single assist this term from 20 appearances, although he has scored three goals.
For a defender who has made 246 senior appearances for his boyhood club, scoring 15 goals and providing 62 assists, this is a stark decline in efficiency, and now a glaring chink in his club’s armour.
Against Villa, Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold can rectify the wrongs and pave the foundation for an emphatic comeback ahead of the latter half of the campaign.
Last year, as Liverpool won the FA Cup and Carabao Cup, the £180k-per-week ace registered a whopping 19 assists from 47 outings; now, the 18-cap England star’s Premier League average of 1.9 key passes is lower than any rate since the 2018/19 term.
The seasonal pause can inject fresh life into the phenom, who must look to captivate with his exquisite range of passing, he is the key to unlocking even the sturdiest of defences, providing a dimension to the frontal attack that most outfits can only dream of.
With the likes of Mo Salah and Darwin Nunez boasting considerable goal-tallies of 15 and nine respectively, the “genius” that is Alexander-Arnold – as written by Goal correspondent Neil Jones – can charge the ascension back to the very top.
If Klopp can help his gem rekindle the ferocious flame of his richest form, he can return to dazzling displays that earned acclaim prevalent across the football globe, with the likes of Gary Neville hailing the “out of this world” £61.6m-rated defender for his original and unparalleled skillset.
Aston Villa will present a testing clash, but if the cogs fall into place, Liverpool and Alexander-Arnold will fly once again.