The “European specialist” did not have a good rehearsal before Monday's match

The “European specialist” did not have a good rehearsal before Monday's match

Olympiacos – Aston Villa 2-0 (6-2 after two meetings)

In a highly unusual way, it is Liverpool, not the opposition, who have enjoyed a match-free midweek period. Monday's opponent, Aston Villa, was playing away to Olympiacos on Thursday evening. The bowl had a place in the Europa League Conference Final.

Unai Emery has long been known as a 'Europe specialist', a title he has more than earned over the past ten years. The Spaniard was, among other things, coach of Sevilla when they beat Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool in the Europa League final in 2016. In total, there have been four titles in that tournament since 2014.

So high expectations have been placed on his Aston Villa side ahead of the double clash against Olympiacos. Nothing really went right at the Birmingham club, neither last week nor on Thursday night.

With an “impossible” starting point after 2-4 at home, the Burgundy team had to win by at least two goals to have a chance of progressing. That hope was already dashed 14 minutes later when Ayoub El Kaabi, who scored a hat-trick at Villa Park, made it 2-5 on aggregate. Emery's men were never able to threaten.

By the way, Aston Villa starts top in Greece: Martinez – Cash, Torres, Konsa, Carlos, Digne – Diaby, McGinn, Luiz, Bailey – Watkins.

Good numbers at the beginning of the season

It's always interesting to see how teams fare after tough home and away matches in the middle of next week. For Liverpool, there was, among other things, the loss after the 1-0 win over Atalanta a few weeks ago.

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Aston Villa, on the other hand, performed well, both in the fall and spring. Six wins, three draws and two defeats is the result before Liverpool await at Villa Park on Monday evening.

It has to be said that the best performance after a midweek European match was the away win over Arsenal, three days after Lille's visit to Birmingham. Admittedly, things haven't gone well every time, a good example being the 0-4 loss to Tottenham at home a month ago.

Taking into account tired legs, and perhaps a small motivational break after the European exit, Liverpool should have good chances at Villa Park on Monday evening. The Reds had eight days of rest after a 4-2 win over Tottenham.

Najuma Ojukwu

Najuma Ojukwu

"Infuriatingly humble internet trailblazer. Twitter buff. Beer nerd. Bacon scholar. Coffee practitioner."

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