English Premiership

Rejuvenated Villa stand in Reds path

2015-04-16 09:02
Christian Benteke (AFP)

London - Liverpool will have to overcome a rejuvenated Aston Villa if they want to book a place in the FA Cup final.

The history between Liverpool and Aston Villa is far more complex, stretching back over 188 matches to 1894 with Liverpool winning almost half their games and Villa only victorious in one of their eight FA Cup meetings.

All of Liverpool's seven FA Cup triumphs have come since the last of Villa's successes in 1957, but Sunday's semi looks a closer call than it did a few weeks ago.

Liverpool's league aspirations were derailed by recent successive defeats to Manchester United and Arsenal while the off-field antics of striker Raheem Sterling, videoed using laughing gas and pictured with a shisha pipe, cannot have helped manager Brendan Rodgers' peace of mind either.

In contrast, Villa have been rejuvenated since Tim Sherwood took over as manager from Paul Lambert in February and, although they are still in a relegation fight, their 1-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur last week was self-assured and well-deserved.

Christian Benteke has rediscovered his scoring form with eight goals in six games since Sherwood arrived, and although Liverpool are fifth and still chasing a Champions League place, they will have to play well to book a second final appearance in four seasons.

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