Liverpool tomorrow, another international break, Cam, Keinan and Southgate

For a few moments this morning it was all good. Then, out of the blue I remembered there is an international break coming up and then I got a little annoyed. Annoyed because we need to pander to the FA.

Don't get me wrong, the FA could be amazing and for what they do, I'm a fan of waiting and watching and letting things play out, but all of these international breaks are too much. But it's not just them.

But it's all good. The game is different today and it's all about the money they can squeeze out of supporters. For us, it's about recognising where that line is and deciding if we want to cross it.

But seeing as I started in on the FA, I need to mention the England squad that was picked by Gareth Southgate and sorry to write this, but for me it's clear that England are not going to win anything with him. And if we do, it's more luck than judgement. A little like how we progressed in the last World Cup.

As a Club manager Southgate failed miserably. His win percentage at Middlesbrough was less than 30% and as the England manager, it's not as good as it should be. Pep, as manager of Manchester City has a better win percentage. You could argue that it's because he's so bad, it's why we didn't go further in the last World Cup and why we didn't win the Euros at home. 

Bottom line, players need to be picked on form and based on the players in form, the best team are sent out. Picking players that haven't played this season or players playing Sunday league just demonstrates that he isn't the right man.

We must always be looking forward and players must know that if they play well for their Club they have a chance of getting picked for England and that if they continue to do well for their Club, they will continue to get picked. Yes, you can have exceptions, but not for 33 year olds playing Sunday league.

But there is value in having a media trained manager that will do exactly what you want.

Liverpool on Sunday and Sheffield United today

With that out of the system, it's time to look to Sunday and just because I want to, Sheffield United today. I'm going to watch Sheffield United because I've got them in my accumulator and because Cam starts and I get to see Ashley Young too.

And seeing as we're talking about Cam, that's a coincidence right, it's worth mentioning that Keinan has left us too, along with a few other players that have come through the ranks during this transfer window.

And you always want the kids coming through to get a chance, but at the same time and by my basic reckoning, we brought in £40mn from sales of homegrown players this window and that is good business. You might even position it that that is a big part of how a modern Club should be operating. So it's all good, kind of.

Moving on to Liverpool and it's a big match. Liverpool are one of the Clubs we need to be beating if we want to be challenging for a top five place this season. And by that I mean, we can't be losing to all the bigger sides, we need to be picking up points. And we go in to this match with a chance.

A chance because Unai Emery has double the win percentage that Gareth Southgate had as a Club manager and because he knows what he's doing. He knows what he's doing not only in terms of sending the players out, but building the Club. 

Liverpool for sure will be tough, but it's a match we can win, if things go our way. And it's going to make a lot of us start to believe if we can get something from Anfield. It will have the press salivating over Aston Villa if we can win and that is something nice to see. 

Match facts from the BBC


  • Liverpool have won nine of their last 11 Premier League games against Aston Villa.
  • Villa are winless in their last five league visits to Anfield (D1, L4), although only Manchester United and Chelsea have won more Premier League away games against Liverpool than Villa have.
  • The first competitive managerial meeting between Jurgen Klopp and Unai Emery was a 3-1 win for Emery's Sevilla against Klopp's Liverpool in the 2015-16 Europa League final in Basel.


  • Liverpool are unbeaten in 14 league matches (W9, D5), the longest current such run in the Premier League.
  • They have lost only one of their last 43 Premier League home fixtures (W32, D10), a 2-1 defeat versus Leeds United last October.
  • The Reds have won their last two top-flight matches despite conceding first in both games.
  • This will be Jurgen Klopp's 300th Premier League game - he is the 17th manager to reach that landmark.
  • Liverpool could receive a red card in three consecutive top-flight games for the first time since 1999.
  • Mohamed Salah has been involved in at least one goal in his last nine Premier League appearances, with four goals and seven assists.
  • Salah has scored six goals in his last six starts against Aston Villa in all competitions.
  • Last season Liverpool won only one of the six Premier League games that Virgil van Dijk did not play in (D3, L2).

Aston Villa

  • In 2023, only Manchester City have picked up more Premier League points than Aston Villa's 49.
  • Villa have won seven of their 14 Premier League away matches under Unai Emery (D3, L4).
  • Moussa Diaby can become the first player to score in each of Villa's opening three away matches of a top-flight season since David Platt in 1990-91.
  • Diaby can become the sixth player to score in each of his first three Premier League away appearances, after Peter Beardsley, Jurgen Klinsmann, Francesco Baiano, Alen Boksic and Erling Haaland.
  • Only Jamie Vardy and Harry Kane have scored more top-flight goals against Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool than Ollie Watkins' total of five.
  • However, Watkins has netted only one goal in his last 10 league appearances.