Aston Villa v Liverpool: Early Benteke goal won’t prevent loss

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Two teams meet at Villa Park with very different aspirations, but who will grab the points between top-four hunters Liverpool and relegation-threatened Aston Villa?

Liverpool are on the up and certainly fancied by Ladbrokes to grab the win at 17/20, while winless-in-six Villa are deemed 7/2 outsiders and fence-sitters can help themselves to 12/5.

They’ll be no such reluctance to pick a winner in our three best bets for the contest though:

Liverpool to win and both teams to score @ 3/1

The Reds’ return to form has seen them go unbeaten in seven matches in all competitions, winning five of those.

Tellingly, four of those wins have come on the road as they search for a third away from Anfield in succession, at a ground where Liverpool traditionally prosper too.

The Red half of Merseyside have left Villa Park victorious 10 times in their last 16 visits, tasting defeat only once, and face a Villa side stripped of confidence thanks to a miserly total of three points collected from their last 18 available.

At least the goal-starved Villa supporters, who witnessed a rare 2014/15 victory in the return fixture, should have one to celebrate against a Reds defence which has only kept two clean sheets in nine.

Christian Benteke to score first @ 11/2

The Belgian hasn’t been firing on a full quota of cylinders since returning from injury, but the sight of Liverpool usually spurs Benteke on, with four goals in as many appearances against the Reds.

Villa have also broken the deadlock first in five of the last six clashes between the teams.

Lazar Markovic to score any time @ 23/10

A man-of-the-match performance and a first Premier League goal of his Liverpool career last time out against Sunderland will have done wonders for Markovic.

The £20m Serbian has been coming to the boil for a while in a Red shirt, and now beginning to fizz, could be a great shout to increase his tally at Villa Park.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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