Smith makes 10 changes, £8.5m man dropped and no Barkley: Villa’s predicted XI vs LFC – opinion

After suffering a surprise exit from the Carabao Cup against Stoke City in mid-week, Aston Villa return to Premier League action on Sunday night as they take on reigning champions Liverpool.

Dean Smith’s side have started the league campaign superbly, with two wins from two, scoring four goals, and conceding exactly none. Their defeat against Stoke however may have dampened the mood slightly, although the Villa boss arguably won’t be too fussed with his side bowing out of the competition at the last 16 stage.

Smith made numerous changes to his starting line-up for the game against the Potters, and will no doubt revert back to a far stronger team for the visit of Liverpool.

Below is a look at just how Villa could take to the field on Sunday.

Aston Villas predicted line up to face Liverpool 240x300 - Smith makes 10 changes, £8.5m man dropped and no Barkley: Villa's predicted XI vs LFC - opinion

In goal, summer signing Emiliano Martinez is likely to resume duties as Smith’s main man in between the sticks, with cup goalkeeper Jed Steer moving back to the bench.

In front of the former Arsenal man, the Villa manager will be keen to stick with the same back-line that has served him so well early on in this Premier League season, so expect to see Matty Cash, Tyrone Mings, Ezri Konsa and Matt Targett reclaim their spots.

Despite bringing in Ross Barkley from Chelsea on a season-long loan, a clash against Liverpool may not be the time or place for Villa to throw him right into the deep end, with Douglas Luiz, John McGinn and Connor Hourihane likely to get the nod. The England international should however be on the bench.

Smith also has a bit of a headache when it comes to who he chooses for the right-wing berth, with Bertrand Traore already scoring for his new club and showing why he could be a superb acquisition for them. If the Villa boss decides the former Lyon man could provide that spark of magic in a game where they’re likely to see less of the ball, that could swing things in the Burkina Faso international’s favour. The £8.5m Trezeguet will be the man to make way from last weekend’s game against Fulham.

And joining Traore in attack, captain Jack Grealish and another big-money summer signing, Ollie Watkins, will be hoping to get off the mark for Villa.

Predicted XI: Martinez; Cash, Konsa, Mings, Targett; Luiz, McGinn, Hourihane; Traore, Grealish, Watkins.

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