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Klopp in awe of ´incredible´ Emery ahead of Villa Park showdown

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 12 May 2024

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Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has praised the “incredible job” Unai Emery has done during his time at Aston Villa ahead of Monday’s contest between the sides.

Emery guided Villa into the Europa Conference League in his first campaign in charge, where they made it to the semi-final stage.

The Villans’ Euro campaign was ended by Olympiacos on Thursday, but they are one win from securing a Champions League spot for next term.

Emery’s men, who lost 1-0 at Brighton last time out in the league, can get themselves over the line with a game to spare when Liverpool visit Villa Park next up.

“He’s done an incredible job,” Klopp said. “Emery is one of the best we have in the business, 100 per cent. Wherever he was, he had success.

“Sometimes clubs were not ready to wait for it, maybe. If you look back probably these clubs would have made different decisions.

“The job he is doing is absolutely exceptional. We all know how important it is for a club to qualify for the Champions League, how difficult it is.”

Liverpool enter the contest third in the Premier League, 11 points better off than Villa, with their title hopes now officially over.

While there may not be a great deal on the line for the Reds on the face of it, this will be Klopp’s final away game as Liverpool manager.

The German is departing after next week’s home match with Wolves, and Villa skipper John McGinn says he will be missed.

“The league has been very lucky to have Klopp,” McGinn said. “He has obviously got an identity and a really strong team. He will be missed.

“I think everyone knows what we think of our own manager. We are very lucky to have him and his staff. They work endlessly to make us better.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Aston Villa – Ollie Watkins

Watkins has failed to score in back-to-back games in all competitions for Villa, with his blank against Brighton leaving him one short of the 20-goal mark in the Premier League this season.

The last Villa player to reach that mark in a top-flight campaign was Peter Withe in 1980-81.

The omens are certainly good, as only against Brighton (six) – ironically – has Watkins scored more goals in the competition than he has against Liverpool (five).

Liverpool – Mohamed Salah

Salah returned to the Liverpool starting line-up last weekend and both scored and assisted in the 4-2 win over Tottenham.

The Egyptian has now both scored and assisted in four different Premier League games this season – only Chelsea’s Cole Palmer (five) has done so more often.

Across his entire Premier League career, Salah has done so 31 times in total, with that a tally only Wayne Rooney (36) and Thierry Henry (32) can better.

MATCH PREDICTION – LIVERPOOL WIN

Villa lost 1-0 to Brighton in their most recent league game, but they have not lost successive Premier League matches since May last year.

Liverpool were 4-2 winners against Tottenham last time out, meanwhile, and have lost just one of their past 26 league games played in May.

This is a fixture the Reds tend to do well in, however, as they have lost just once and won 10 times in their past 12 league games with Villa.

Indeed, Liverpool have won more Premier League away games against Villa than they have any other opponents (16).

Historically speaking, meanwhile, Liverpool have lost only one of their eight final away league games under Klopp, last doing so in 2018.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Aston Villa – 27.1%

Draw – 27.7%

Liverpool – 45.2%

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

SoccerNews

Soccernews.com is news blog for soccer with comprehensive coverage of all the major leagues in Europe, as well as MLS in the United States. In addition we offer breaking news for transfers and transfer rumors, ticket sales, betting tips and offers, match previews, and in-depth editorials.

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